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GP3 testing: ART are the pre-season front-runners

French team ART Grand Prix have established themselves as pre-season favourites for the new GP3 series following two days of testing at Paul Ricard.

GP3 pre-season testing continues
GP3 pre-season testing continues

Mexican Esteban Gutiérrez and American Alexander Rossi proved the most reliably quick of the 29 hopefuls taking part across the two days of testing at the circuit in southern France, although the fastest individual lap went to Nigel Melker of RSC Mucke Motorsport.


The pair also topped the half-hour shoot-out to decide race numbers for the season, grabbing the 1, 2 and 3 numbers for their team ahead of Canada’s Robert Wickens, who earned the 4, 5 and 6 numbers for Ireland’s Status GP, and Brit James Jakes for Manor who will race with 7, 8 and 9.

Didier Perrin, GP3 Series Technical Director said he was very pleased with how the series’ second test had gone: “Yet again the reliability of the GP3 car proved to be exceptional… above all our best expectations, and [it] makes me very confident for the upcoming season.

“We also had our first driver break the 1:19 barrier in qualifying, and in the afternoon session 20 drivers were within one second of each other – we can expect some spectacular racing this year.

“I was also delighted to see that teams were focused on performance and setting up car, and most of time they were not impeded by reliability issues. To be in this position so early on is impressive.”

Day 1 morning
1. Esteban Gutierrez / ART
2. Pablo Sanchez Lopez / Addax
3. James Jakes / Manor
(Dean Smith 11th, Oli Oakes 20th, Dean Stoneman 21st)

Day 1 afternoon
1. Esteban Gutierrez / ART
2. Alexander Rossi / ART
3. Nigel Melke / RSC Mucke
(Jakes 13th, Smith 21st, Oakes 24th)

Day 2 morning
1. Nigel Melke / RSC Mucke
2. Alexander Rossi / ART
3. James Jakes / Manor
(Smith 12th, Stoneman 22nd, Oakes 26th)

Race number allocation (half-hour shoot-out)
Rossi and Gutierrez fastest, earning numbers 1,2 and 3 for ART Grand Prix
Robert Wickens third, earning 4,5 and 6 for Status GP
Jakes fourth, earning 7,8 and 9 for Manor GP
Renge van der Zande fifth-fastest, giving 10, 11 and 12 to RSC Mucke Motorsport
Then Carlin, Addax Team, MW Arden, Jenzer Motorsport, Tech 1 Racing and Atech CRS GP.

Day 2 afternoon
1. Alexander Rossi / ART
2. Esteban Gutierrez / ART
3. Robert Wickens / Status GP
(Jakes 7th, Smith 8th, Stoneman 13th, Oakes 17th)


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