Nico Muller quickest on first day of GP3 test

Swiss racer Nico Muller topped the opening day of GP3 pre-season testing at Estoril.

The GP3 veteran set a quickest lap of 1:31.285 in his Trident machine to put him 0.015 seconds clear of Kiwi Mitch Evans.

In a relatively busy day, Muller completed fifty-two laps in his Renault-powered Dallara, setting the fastest pace in afternoon session, after Evans set the morning pace.
The 19-year-old left it late though – a last ditch run eventually tempted the top spot away from Evans with less than fifteen minutes remaining. With the beginning of the GP3 championship three months away, Muller has yet to formally announce his plans for 2012.

Although Evans displayed raw pace, the 17-year-old only managed twenty-three laps throughout the day – the lowest total bar Tamas Pa’l Kiss’ effort of twenty-one tours.
Antonio Felix da Costa (Carlin, 3rd), Aaro Vainio (Lotus, 4th) and Conor Daly (Lotus, 5th) all broke the forty lap barrier, while 6th place Matias Laine (MW Arden) registered thirty-one circuits.
In an impressive showing of competitiveness, the top six were all within a quarter-of-a-second of each other.

Tio Ellinas secured 7th in his Marussia Manor entry with a best of 1:31.640, followed closely by Pa’l Kiss (Atech CRS, 8th), David Fumanelli (MW Arden, 9th) and Matheo Tuscher (Jenzer Motorsport, 10th).
GP3’s first female racer, Vicky Piria, enjoyed a relatively busy day with her new Trident team. The 19-year-old ran thirty-six laps on her way to securing 22nd place on the timesheets.

There was a brief red flag in the morning when Fabiano Machado spun his Marussia Manor machine into the gravel trap.
British Formula 3 racer Will Buller brought another red flag in the afternoon – the County Down man spun into the gravel just after setting his quickest time of the day.

Pos  Driver                  Team       Time       Gaps      Laps
 1.  Nico Muller             Trident    1m31.285s            52
 2.  Mitch Evans             MW Arden   1m31.300s  + 0.015s  23
 3.  Antonio Felix da Costa  Carlin     1m31.361s  + 0.076s  42
 4.  Aaro Vainio             Lotus      1m31.461s  + 0.176s  40
 5.  Conor Daly              Lotus      1m31.487s  + 0.202s  48
 6.  Matias Laine            MW Arden   1m31.498s  + 0.213s  31
 7.  Tio Ellinas             Manor      1m31.640s  + 0.355s  45
 8.  Tamas Pal Kiss          Atech CRS  1m31.713s  + 0.428s  21
 9.  David Fumanelli         MW Arden   1m31.745s  + 0.460s  42
10.  Matheo Tuscher          Jenzer     1m31.867s  + 0.582s  54
11.  Alexander Sims          Status     1m31.941s  + 0.656s  53
12.  Robert Visoiu           Jenzer     1m32.043s  + 0.758s  56
13.  Daniel Abt              Lotus      1m32.089s  + 0.804s  42
14.  Fabiano Machado         Manor      1m32.203s  + 0.918s  74
15.  Marlon Stockinger       Status     1m32.240s  + 0.955s  35
16.  Miki Weckstrom          Status     1m32.252s  + 0.967s  35
17.  Will Buller             Carlin     1m32.677s  + 1.392s  42
18.  Dmitry Suranovich       Manor      1m32.831s  + 1.546s  49
19.  Antonio Spavone         Trident    1m32.849s  + 1.564s  53
20.  Patric Niederhauser     Jenzer     1m32.977s  + 1.692s  58
21.  Alex Brundle            Carlin     1m32.993s  + 1.708s  40
22.  Vicky Piria             Trident    1m33.383s  + 2.098s  36
23.  Ethan Ringel            Atech CRS  1m33.535s  + 2.250s  50
24.  Robert Cregan           Tech 1     1m33.911s  + 2.626s  43
25.  Yuki Shiraishi          Tech 1     1m35.125s  + 3.840s  29

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