“Ceccon tops Jerez GP3 test”
Kevin Ceccon grabbed the top spot following two days of GP3 post-season testing at Jerez last week.
Driving for MW Arden, the Italian took advantage of some sporadic dry running to hold Robert Visoiu and Tio Ellinas at bay.
With rain disrupting the latter half of day one as well as day two’s opening session, the twenty-strong field found clean running in short supply.
Ceccon’s best of 1:35.451 – the best of the entire test – was fastest by half-a-second quicker than Visoiu on day one, with that gap extending to just over one second over Ellinas by the end of running.
David Fumanelli joined Ceccon and Ellinas at the top of the time sheets in the early morning and although rain threatened, it did not fall until the afternoon break.
Amidst the regular GP3 Series pilots, newcomers Melville McKee (MW Arden), Roman de Beer (Trident) and newly crowned British F3 champion Jack Harvey (Lotus GP) made positive impressions.
The relatively quiet morning was interrupted only once when a spinning Jordan Oon (Atech CRS) brought out a brief red flag.
With the opening day’s second session rain affected, times slowed dramatically; however it did give the field an opportunity to run in some of motor racing’s trickier conditions.
Porsche Supercup racer Patryk Szczerbinski made good of the wet circuit early on, as did GP3 returnee Miki Monras and British Formula Ford graduate Eric Lichtenstein; however all three would eventually be knocked down the order by Ellinas.
Come the second day of running, Trident’s Emanuele Zonzini topped a still damp Jerez circuit in the morning ahead of Ceccon, Nick Cassidy (Status GP) and de Beer.
There was a brief halt when Harvey stopped on track, due to an oil leak. It was an unfortunate turn for the Briton after he had switched to Carlin for the second day. After a brief dry spell that saw the pace quicken significantly, more rain arrived causing Miki Weckstrom (Status GP) and Szczerbinski to spin off.
A drier session in the afternoon allowed Ceccon to regain control of the timesheets, although the GP3 Series veteran had jump Visoiu, Costa and de Beer to secure it under the Spanish sun. There was a late red flag when Zonzini and Ellinas both spun off just prior to the rain’s final attack, ensuring the time’s remained static.
Although the GP3/10 is to be put out to pasture, this two day run (and another pair of days in Estoril over November 6th-7th), will give both drivers and teams an opportunity to evaluate potential candidates and partners for the 2013 season.
Meanwhile, 2012 GP3 Series champion, Mitch Evans, tested the new-for-2013 GP3 Series machine at Magny Cours.
The Kiwi ran the GP3/13 at a two-day development test at the French circuit, allowing series engineers to evaluate tyre compounds for when the car hits the track fully next year. Evans also tested a development GP2 car as part of a prize for winning the GP3 Series this year.
2012 GP3 Series (Post-season test; Jerez) Pos Driver Team Day 1 Time Day 2 Time Laps 1. Kevin Ceccon MW Arden 1:35.451 1:39.263 92 2. Robert Visoiu Lotus GP 1:35.903 1:42.870 105 3. Tio Ellinas Marussia Manor 1:36.009 1:40.266 92 4. David Fumanelli MW Arden 1:36.090 1:41.927 118 5. Melville McKee MW Arden 1:36.346 1:40.952 143 6. Alex Fontana Jenzer 1:36.460 1:42.756 95 7. Nick Cassidy Status GP 1:36.483 1:40.847 118 8. Nicolas Costa Marussia Manor 1:36.565 1:40.488 106 9. Miki Weckstrom Status GP 1:36.608 1:42.681 98 10. Roman de Beer Trident 1:36.715 1:40.704 133 11. Giovanni Venturini Lotus GP 1:36.763 1:40.977 83 12. Eric Lichtenstein Carlin 1:36.823 n/a 82 13. Josh Webster Carlin 1:37.045 1:42.240 90 14. Jack Harvey Lotus GP 1:37.053 n/a 54 15. Miki Monras Atech CRS 1:37.146 1:41.476 94 16. Patryk Szczerbinski Marussia Manor 1:37.414 1:42.233 122 17. Emanuele Zonzini Trident 1:37.427 1:41.733 143 18. Jordan Oon Atech CRS 1:37.695 1:42.966 92 19. Samin Gomez Jenzer 1:38.217 1:44.762 112 20. Ryan Cullen Status GP 1:38.706 1:48.784 115 21. Jack Harvey Carlin n/a 1:40.979 30 22. Vittorio Ghirelli Lotus GP n/a 1:41.328 47