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Vainio grabs top spot of GP3 test in Estoril

February 23, 2012

Autódromo do Estoril. © Creative Commons / Will Pittenger

Finnish racer Aaro Vainio topped the second and final day of the opening GP3 pre-season test at Estoril.

Driving for reigning champions Lotus (formerly Lotus-ART), Vainio’s best lap – 1:30.466 – came early in the morning running, allowing the Finn the benefit of a day-long advantage at the head of the field.
The Finn completed a respectable 58 laps throughout the day.

Marussia Manor’s Tio Ellinas came closest to dislodging Vainio with an afternoon effort just one-tenth shy of the top. The Cypriot clocked up 55 laps – a not too unreasonable total in what was a very busy day at the Portuguese circuit.
Antonio Felix da Costa was next up in the Carlin, falling just six hundredths shy of Ellinas. The Portuguese racer featured high on the time sheets in the morning, only to drop to 3rd as the afternoon ticked over.

Mitch Evans (MW Arden, 4th), Conor Daly (Lotus, 5th) and Tamas Pa’l Kiss (Atech CRS, 6th) all set times within half-a-second of Vainio; however for the second consecutive day, Pa’l Kiss lingered near the bottom of the lap count with only 49 tours logged.

Formula Abarth Italy champion Patric Niederhauser (7th) headed impressive 15-year-old Jenzer Motorsport teammate Matheo Tuscher (8th) by a mere five hundredths, while Daniel Abt (Lotus) and Marlon Stockinger (Status) rounded out the top ten.

After topping the time sheets on Tuesday with Trident, Nico Muller switched to Tech 1 Racing for the final day, falling to 17th overall.
The morning saw two red flags emerge, both courtesy of series rookie Vicky Piria. The 19-year-old twice beached her Trident machine in the gravel, bringing the session to a halt.

The next two-day test is scheduled for Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya in three weeks time.

Pos  Driver                  Team       Time       Gaps      Laps
 1.  Aaro Vainio             Lotus      1m30.466s            58
 2.  Tio Ellinas             Manor      1m30.573s  + 0.107s  55
 3.  Antonio Felix da Costa  Carlin     1m30.610s  + 0.164s  67
 4.  Mitch Evans             MW Arden   1m30.810s  + 0.364s  63
 5.  Conor Daly              Lotus      1m30.855s  + 0.389s  71
 6.  Tamas Pal Kiss          Atech CRS  1m30.936s  + 0.470s  50
 7.  Patric Niederhauser     Jenzer     1m30.985s  + 0.519s  70
 8.  Matheo Tuscher          Jenzer     1m31.036s  + 0.570s  75
 9.  Daniel Abt              Lotus      1m31.055s  + 0.589s  76
10.  Marlon Stockinger       Status     1m31.298s  + 0.832s  58
11.  Robert Visoiu           Jenzer     1m31.314s  + 0.848s  64
12.  Dmitry Suranovich       Manor      1m31.382s  + 0.916s  66
13.  Matias Laine            MW Arden   1m31.421s  + 0.955s  49
14.  Fabiano Machado         Manor      1m31.491s  + 1.025s  57
15.  David Fumanelli         MW Arden   1m31.527s  + 1.061s  52
16.  Miki Weckstrom          Status     1m31.539s  + 1.073s  53
17.  Nico Muller             Tech 1     1m31.570s  + 1.104s  69
18.  Will Buller             Carlin     1m31.597s  + 1.131s  77
19.  Alex Brundle            Carlin     1m32.001s  + 1.135s  104
20.  Yuki Shiraishi          Trident    1m32.307s  + 1.442s  84
21.  Nil Montserrat          Status     1m32.357s  + 1.891s  56
22.  Antonio Spavone         Trident    1m32.446s  + 1.980s  73
23.  Ethan Ringel            Atech CRS  1m32.466s  + 2.000s  52
24.  Robert Cregan           Tech 1     1m32.594s  + 2.128s  56
25.  Vicky Piria             Trident    1m32.932s  + 2.468s  64
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