Evans fastest on opening day of Barcelona GP3 test

© Creative Commons / Will Pittenger

MW Arden’s Mitch Evans claimed the top spot as GP3 pre-season testing resumed at the Circuit de Catalunya yesterday.

The 19-year-old made the best of the cool morning conditions to register a time of 1:38.609 – giving the Kiwi a one-tenth advantage over Marussia-Manor’s Tio Ellinas.

It was not all gold for Evans – the Kiwi spun early in the afternoon session, beaching his Dallara-Renault in the gravel trap.

Evans’ off ensured he would only compete 38 laps – well shy of the day’s mileage peak. That honour went to Antonio Spavone, who completed an impressive 77 laps in his Trident Racing machine.
Antonio Felix da Costa and Alex Brundle (both Carlin) were the only other pilots to break the 200-mile barrier by the end of the day, with 72 and 71 circulations respectively.

Lotus GP’s Daniel Abt assumed 3rd at the chequered flag. The German national ran fastest as the afternoon session came to a close, ending a sensible day for the former-German Formula 3 racer.
MW Arden pairing David Fumanelli (4th) and Matias Laine (5th) ran just under half-a-second slower than teammate Evans, while also pipping up-and-coming Hungarian racer, Tamas Pa’l Kiss (Atech CRS, 6th).

Carlin’s British Formula 3 competitor, Carlos Sainz Jr, found himself at the wheel of Lotus GP’s third machine today*, stitching together 60 laps in a solid display of speed and consistency.
The 17-year-old Red Bull junior driver logged his best (1:39.087) in the afternoon running, ensuring the Spaniard enjoyed a small advantage over Kevin Ceccon (Trident, 8th, 67 laps), da Costa (9th) and Tom Blomqvist (Status GP, 10th, 48 laps).

There were red flags aplenty in the morning when Robert Cregan (Ocean Racing Technology), Blomqvist and Fabiano Machado (Marussia-Manor) all suffered separate offs. The afternoon session was closed prematurely, as Ceccon spun with mere minutes left on the clock.

* {note 1}
Of course, it means absolutely nothing, but it does occasionally make me smile to see such crossovers in the feeder categories.
That the son of WRC legend, who happens to be a Red Bull driver**, tested with a Lotus branded GP3 team (formerly ART GP), while his British F3 sister team – Carlin – and ran three cars with other drivers was enough to raise my eyebrow. But only a little.

** {note 1b}
This is without going into the MW Arden situation, which is owned by Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner and driver Mark Webber; however MW Arden’s line-up for 2012 was filled some time ago.

Pos Driver               Team               Time      Laps
 1. Mitch Evans             MW Arden           1:38.609  38
 2. Tio Ellinas             Marussia-Manor     1:38.733  44
 3. Daniel Abt              Lotus GP           1:38.799  54
 4. David Fumanelli         MW Arden           1:38.944  56
 5. Matias Laine            MW Arden           1:39.014  36
 6. Tamas Pa’l Kiss         Atech CRS          1:39.075  31
 7. Carlos Sainz Jr         Lotus GP           1:39.087  60
 8. Kevin Ceccon            Trident            1:39.102  67
 9. Antonio Felix da Costa  Carlin             1:39.105  72
10. Tom Blomqvist           Status GP          1:39.139  48
11. Patric Niederhauser     Jenzer Motorsport  1:39.231  58
12. Maxim Zimin             Jenzer Motorsport  1:39.271  55
13. Conor Daly              Lotus GP           1:39.320  62
14. Marlon Stockinger       Status GP          1:39.340  51
15. Robert Visoiu           Jenzer Motorsport  1:39.649  52
16. Antonio Spavone         Trident            1:39.747  77
17. Alex Brundle            Carlin             1:39.898  71
18. Fabiano Machado         Marussia-Manor     1:40.107  69
19. Vicky Piria             Trident            1:40.516  61
20. Kotaro Sakurai          Status GP          1:40.541  38
21. William Buller          Carlin             1:40.589  48
22. Dmitry Suranovich       Marussia-Manor     1:40.731  60
23. Robert Cregan           Ocean Racing Tech  1:40.951  49
24. Ethan Ringel            Atech CRS          1:41.013  52
25. John Wartique           Atech CRS          1:42.781  41
26. Carmen Jorda            Ocean Racing Tech  1:44.009  58

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