“GP3 Series adds Valencia round; Ellinas and Fumanelli top final test”

© GP3 Media Services.
© GP3 Media Services.

The GP3 Series have announced that the second round of the 2013 season will take place at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia.

With the series not visiting Monaco this season, there was initially a seven-week gap between the opener at Barcelona and the next meet at Silverstone.

Aside from supporting Monaco Grand Prix, the only other Formula One event in that period was the Canadian Grand Prix, but rather than make the journey across the Atlantic, the series organisers settled for stand-alone event instead.

In a shortened weekend, GP3 will run practice and qualifying on Saturday (June 15), with both races following on Sunday (June 16). It has yet to be confirmed whether any other categories will join GP3 over the course of the weekend.
Upon the addition of Valencia, series CEO Bruno Michel commented, “We are happy to announce that Valencia has been added to the calendar. It will be the first time that the Series will race at Circuit de Ricardo Tormo.”

The new GP3/13 chassis and engine package also delivers another new angle to series, something that strikes Michel as keen. He added, “2013 promises to be a very strong season for GP3 with the introduction of the GP3/13 car, recording a laptime 4.2 seconds quicker than its previous generation on the same track.”

Since GP3 last appeared on site, there have been a couple of minor changes to the driver line-up. On Saturday Adderly Fong was revealed as the final driver in the Status GP, alongside Jimmy Eriksson and Josh Webster, while Carmen Jorda was recently announced as a replacement for Roberto la Rocca at Bamboo Engineering, whose Venezuelan sponsors reportedly bailed in the aftermath of Hugo Chavez’ death {note 1}.
While five seats are still up for grabs, Michel is confident the field will command respect from commentators and viewers alike: “The driver line-up is probably the strongest we have ever had. I can’t wait for the season to start in Barcelona next month.”

Meanwhile Tio Ellinas and David Fumanelli topped the final two days of pre-season testing at a bitterly cold Silverstone this week.
Ellinas pipped ART Grand Prix racer Facu Regalia on Wednesday, with a last dash effort in his Marussia Manor machine. The Cypriot – still without a drive for 2013 – set a best lap of 1:46.211 – a furious pace, some 3.9s faster than the standing GP3 record for the circuit.
Carlos Sainz Jr topped the opening morning session, although the cold conditions ensured minimal laps were completed. The Spaniard would go quickly again during the afternoon, but would have his times deleted when his car was discovered to be underweight. There were several red flags through Wednesday, with stoppages for Fumanelli, Facu Regalia, Luis Sa Silva and Fong.

Fumanelli destroyed Ellinas’ marker yesterday when he went almost one second quicker on the Silverstone circuit. The Italian topped the session with a quickest tour of 1:45.213, several tenths faster than next up Ellinas and Regalia.
Despite the cool conditions, there were few disruptions with Jorda and Fong registering all three of the day’s red flags. Samin Gomez did not take part during the second day’s running due to illness.

After competing for Hilmer Motorsport in the opening round of the GP2 Series season, Conor Daly stepped back into ART GP machine for the GP3 test, although no further feeder series deals have been announced as of yet for the American.
However he has added this year’s Indy 500 to the list of events he will be attempting to run in 2013. Daly will partner former F1 race Takuma Sato at Foyt Enterprises; however the 21-year-old must still partake in the super speedway rookie test, before attempting to qualify for the race.

2013 GP3 Series pre-season test (Silverstone April 3-5; combined times)
Pos Driver                     Team        Time
 1. David Fumanelli            Trident     1m45.213s 
 2. Tio Ellinas                Manor       1m45.821s
 3. Facu Regalia               ART         1m45.855s 
 4. Alex Fontana               Jenzer      1m46.040s 
 5. Carlos Sainz Jr            MW Arden    1m46.107s 
 6. Dino Zamparelli            Manor       1m46.157s 
 7. Aaro Vainio                Koiranen    1m46.226s 
 8. Melville McKee             Bamboo      1m46.262s 
 9. Jack Harvey                ART         1m46.266s 
10. Giovanni Venturini         Trident     1m46.282s 
11. Nick Cassidy               Manor       1m46.336s 
12. Robert Visoiu              MW Arden    1m46.399s 
13. Patrick Kujala             Koiranen    1m46.406s 
14. Conor Daly                 ART         1m46.407s 
15. Nick Yelloly               Carlin      1m46.468s 
16. Felipe Guimaraes           Bamboo      1m46.526s  
17. Daniil Kvyat               MW Arden    1m46.539s 
18. Kevin Korjus               Koiranen    1m46.650s 
19. Patric Niederhauser        Jenzer      1m46.876s 
20. Josh Webster               Status      1m47.004s 
21. Emanuele Zonzini           Trident     1m47.039s 
22. Adderly Fong               Status      1m47.056s 
23. Eric Lichtenstein          Carlin      1m47.388s 
24. Jimmy Eriksson             Status      1m47.402s 
25. Luis Sa Silva              Carlin      1m47.869s 
26. Carmen Jorda               Bamboo      1m50.519s
2013 GP3 Series field (as of April 4th) 
ART GP:              Facu Regalia, Jack Harvey, tba 
MW Arden:            Carlos Sainz Jr, Robert Visoiu, Daniil Kvyat 
Carlin:              Luis Sá Silva, Nick Yelloly, Eric Lichtenstein
Jenzer:              Samin Gómez, Patric Niederhauser, Alex Fontana 
Marussia Manor:      Dino Zamparelli, tba, tba 
Status GP:           Jimmy Eriksson, Josh Webster, Adderly Fong 
Bamboo Engineering:  Carmen Jorda, tba, tba
Trident:             David Fumanelli, Emanuele Zonzini, Giovanni Venturini 
Koiranen GP:         Patrick Kujala, Aaro Vainio, Kevin Korjus

{note 1}
With the disappearance of his GP3 drive, Roberto la Rocca has moved back down to the European F3 Open series with Team West-Tec. His first round in the category comes in just over three weeks when he will race at Paul Ricard behind the wheel of a Dallara F312.

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