ART Grand Prix have completed the second collective GP3 test in the same form as they did during the first official test – by finishing the test on top of the times.

The French based outfit didn't have it all their own way though as German based RSC Mucke Motorsport broke their stranglehold on the number one position during the morning.

RSC Mucke Motorsports driver Nigel Melker set the fastest time of the day en route to the number one position during the penultimate session of the test, setting a fastest lap of 1m20.210s.  The form drivers of testing thus far, Alexander Rossi and Esteban Gutierrez of ART Grand Prix were unable to match the pace shown by Melker.

The competitiveness of the forthcoming GP3 season was proved as the top 18 drivers were all within a second of Melker's fastest time of the morning.

Behind Melker and Rossi was British youngster James Jakes, who set the third fastest time for Manor Racing ahead of the previous day's pacesetter Gutierrez.

The rest of the top ten contained the usual suspects, the drivers who are expected to be towards the top of the Championship standings come the end of the season; the top ten featured seven different teams.

The final session of the two day test saw the status quo restored, as Rossi finished the day and test on top, ahead of the sister car of Gutierrez, with Canadian Robert Wickens finishing the session with the third fastest time.

After the opening session of the day suggested that the inaugural campaign of GP3 would be a competitive proposition, the final session further strengthened this case, as the top twenty drivers all lapped within a second of Rossi's best time from the session.

As in the opening session, seven teams were present in the top ten times, with the Addax Team seeing all three of its drivers setting top ten times, GP3 rookie Felipe Guimaraes finishing the day having set the fourth best time of the afternoon, while the teams other drivers, Mirko Bortolotti and Pablo Sanchez Lopez finished sixth and ninth respectively.

Speaking after the completion of the second test, the GP3 Technical Director, Didier Perrin remarked: “I am very pleased with how the second test has gone. Yet again the reliability of the GP3 car proved to be exceptional, with just under 13,000 kms completed in 3,360 laps during the two day test – this is above all our best expectations, and makes me very confident for the upcoming season. We also had our first driver break the 1m19s barrier in qualifying earlier today, and in the afternoon session twenty 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.”

The final day's testing times:

Position Name Team Time AM Time PM
1 Alexander Rossi ART Grand Prix 1:20.320s 1:20.784s
2 Esteban Gutierrez ART Grand Prix 1:20.495s 1:20.873s
3 Robert Wickens Status GP 1:20.668s 1:20.873s
4 Felipe Guimaraes Addax Team 1:20.546s 1:20.921s
5 Renger Van Der Zande RSC Mucke Motorsport 1:20.916s 1:20.929s
6 Mirko Bortolotti Addax Team 1:21.100s 1:21.009s
7 James Jakes Manor Racing 1:20.472s 1:21.032s
8 Dean Smith Carlin 1:20.962s 1:21.118s
9 Pablo Sanchez Lopez Addax Team 1:20.767s 1:21.151s
10 Michael Christensen MW Arden 1:20.810s 1:21.156s
11 Daniel Morad Status GP 1:20.994s 1:21.224s
12 Simon Trummer Jenzer Motorsport 1:21.274s 1:21.241s
13 Dean Stoneman Atech CRS GP 1:21.459s 1:21.246s
14 Nigel Melker RSC Mucke Motorsport 1:20.210s 1:20.280s
15 Pal Varhaug Jenzer Motorsport 1:21.164s 1:21.452s
16 Nico Muller Jenzer Motorsport 1:21.112s 1:21.452s
17 Oliver Oakes Atech CRS GP 1:21.710s 1:21.485s
18 Josef Newgarden Carlin 1:20.891s 1:21.489s
19 Doru Sechelariu Tech 1 Racing 1:21.505s 1:21.611s
20 Daniel Juncadella Tech 1 Racing 1:21.999s 1:21.760s
21 Stefano Coletti Tech 1 Racing 1:21.770s 1:21.807s
22 Miki Monras MW Arden 1:20.634s 1:21.877s
23 Jake Rosenzweig Carlin 1:21.204s 1:21.904s
24 Tobias Hegewald RSC Mucke Motorsport 1:21.001s 1:21.906s
25 Pedro Nunes ART Grand Prix 1:21.281s 1:21.915s
26 Rio Haryanto Manor Racing 1:21.369s 1:21.960s
27 Leonardo Cordeiro MW Arden 1:21.665s 1:21.982s
28 Patrick Reiterer Atech CRS GP 1:21.628s 1:22.066s
29 Ivan Lukashevich Status GP 1:22.795s 1:22.579s
BOLD Drivers Fastest Time

The next official GP3 group test will take place at Barcelona, Spain, on the 13 and 14 April, ahead of the first races of the season, which take place at the same circuit on the 8 and 9 May, alongside the opening European race of the FIA Formula One World Championship.

Photo credit: Drew Gibson/GP3 Media