Nigel Melker made history today as he headed the times in the first official qualifying session as the brand new GP3 series kicked off in Barcelona.

With a low track temperature of just 14 degrees due to the early morning start for the session, the 29 young drivers took to the Circuit de Catalunya in a qualifying period which was constantly changing at the top throughout the session.

Nigel Melker would come through on top of the session with a 1:52.602 despite last minute efforts from the other 29 drivers. Pal Varhaug would impress as he took the second front row spot for Jenzer Motorsport in the dying moments of the session after knocking Wikens down to third. Team mate Daniel Morad would line up alongside with a time of 1:53.311 followed by James Jakes for Manor and Dean Smith completing the top six.

Pole favourite Estenban Gutierrez would finish in a lowely seventh place with another favourite Alexander Rossi ending his session early in the barriers, completing just three laps in total. Adrian Quaife-Hobbs also aquainted himself with the Spanish barriers after pushing too hard.

Mirko Bortolotti was due to take place in the qualifying session to make up the 30 drivers but was forced to sit out the session after injuring his thumb during yesterday’s practice session.

POS # DRIVER TEAM BEST LAPS
1 10 N. MELKER RSC Muecke Motorsport 1:52.602 14
2 23 P. VARHAUG Jenzer Motorsport 1:52.931 13
3 4 R. WICKENS Status Grand Prix 1:52.974 15
4 6 D. MORAD Status Grand Prix 1:53.311 15
5 7 J. JAKES Manor Racing 1:53.440 14
6 15 D. SMITH Carlin 1:53.600 15
7 2 E. GUTIERREZ Art Grand Prix 1:53.603 14
8 28 J. VERGNE Tech 1 Racing 1:53.765 13
9 11 R. VAN DER ZANDE RSC Muecke Motorsport 1:53.914 15
10 24 S. TRUMMER Jenzer Motorsport 1:53.983 14
11 17 F. GUIMARAES Addax Team 1:54.159 15
12 14 J. NEWGARDEN Carlin 1:54.329 15
13 8 R. HARYANTO Manor Racing 1:54.331 13
14 16 L. FORESTI Carlin 1:54.477 13
15 27 D. JUNCADELLA Tech 1 Racing 1:54.495 15
16 20 M. CHRISTENSEN MW Arden 1:54.658 13
17 21 M. MONRAS MW Arden 1:54.666 12
18 3 P. NUNES Art Grand Prix 1:54.686 14
19 18 P. SANCHEZ LOPEZ Addax Team 1:54.691 13
20 25 N. MULLER Jenzer Motorsport 1:54.726 13
21 22 L. CORDEIRO MW Arden 1:54.758 13
22 30 O. OAKES Atech CRS GP 1:54.817 13
23 26 D. SECHELARIU Tech 1 Racing 1:55.069 15
24 29 P. REITERER Atech CRS GP 1:55.394 13
25 12 T. HEGEWALD RSC Muecke Motorsport 1:55.643 14
26 5 I. LUKASHEVICH Status Grand Prix 1:55.927 15
27 9 A. QUAIFE-HOBBS Manor Racing 1:57.082 9
28 1 A. ROSSI Art Grand Prix 2:00.622 3
29 31 V. GHIRELLI Atech CRS GP 2:01.311 8

Photo credit: Alastair Staley/GP3 Media Service