Leclerc Leaves Precedent for Rivals, Ending Spielberg Test On Top


2016 GP3 Series Testing. Spielberg, Austria. Red Bull Ring, Wednesday 8th June 2016 . Charles Leclerc (MON, ART Grand Prix). Photo: Alastair Staley/GP3 Media Service ref: 580A9217

Wednesday’s mid-season GP3 Series test at the Red Bull Ring saw Ferrari Academy driver Charles Leclerc end the session with a time of 1:19.437. While he failed to improve on his personal best from the day before, the time saw him finish the day 0.012 seconds faster than fellow FDA driver Antonio Fuoco.

Just like on Tuesday, it was Colombian Oscar Tunjo who set the early pace as a number of drivers set about their race simulations. Like Tunjo, Fuoco had been an early pace setter, going top and looking comfortable as the clock approached the 45 minute mark.

Soon after, it was Leclerc who took the initiative, topping the time sheets. Not to be outdone, Fuoco fought back to within 0.012 seconds, but it wasn’t enough for the Italian who eventually was forced to settle for second, with Matthew Parry rounding out the top three.

Despite Fuoco’s impressive session, luck wasn’t at the other side of the Trident garage with Giuliano Alesi bringing out two red flags as he stopped at turn two and three during the morning session. The young Italian ended the session fifteenth after still managing 40 laps.

He wasn’t the only one to bring out the red flags though, with Konstanin Tereschenko also coming to a halt in the morning. Meanwhile Kevin Joerg ended the afternoon in the gravel at turn six after an unfortunate off.

The afternoon session proved to be less spectacular, with Ralph Boschung setting the early pace, before Steijn Schothorst took it away before the half way point.

With the air noticeably cooler and clouds gathering, few drivers found any improvement going into the afternoon, with on Santino Ferrucci jumping up the order. Schothorst would remain on top, but the cold track meant that his best of 1:20.671 was slower than all 23 drivers personal bests from the morning. Jack Aitken and Ferrucci rounded out the top three.