Trident Racing made a good start to their preparations for their debut GP3 Series campaign as Nico Muller posted the fastest time on the opening day of pre-season testing at Estoril.
The Swiss driver, who has finished in the top four overall in both previous GP3 Series seasons for the Jenzer team, is with the Italian outfit in Portugal to use his experience to help them to get up to speed with the car following their takeover of the Addax team's entry.
During the morning it was pre-season favourite Mitch Evans who laid down a rather ominous marker – the MW Arden driver going 0.449 seconds quicker than fellow second-year driver Aaro Vainio of Lotus GP despite only doing seven laps. Tio Ellinas was third for Marussia Manor, ahead of Matias Laine – who has switched from Manor to Arden for the coming season.
Tamas Pal Kiss was fifth for Atech CRS, just ahead of Alexander Sims – present to help out old team Status Grand Prix. Teammate Marlon Stockinger was next up, ahead of 15-year-old GP3 debutant Matheo Tuscher. Muller was ninth, ahead of another man making his debut in the car – South American F3 champion Fabiano Machado of Marussia Manor.
Another driver helping out a former team was local ace Antonio Felix da Costa, 11th fastest in the morning with Carlin. He edged out Conor Daly, running with Lotus, and Status' Micki Weckstrom. Next up were Daniel Abt and David Fumanelli of Lotus and Arden respectively, ahead of Formula Abarth champion Patric Niederhauser and the British Carlin duo of William Buller and Alex Brundle. 16-year-olds Robert Visoiu and Dmitry Suranovich were 19th and 20th respectively, with the Trident duo of Antonio Spavone and Vicky Piria sandwiching 22nd placed American Ethan Ringel. Tech 1 newcomers Robert Cregan and Yuki Shiraishi rounded out the 25 runners.
Lotus GP's trio of Vainio, Daly and Abt controlled the first half of the afternoon session, before Felix da Costa and Evans both moved ahead in the final hour. Muller then took top spot in the final 15 minutes, to record the fastest time of the day. Evans and Felix da Costa completed the top three, ahead of Vainio, Daly and Laine. Ellinas was seventh, Pal Kiss eighth, Fumanelli ninth and the impressive Tuscher tenth.
Sims took eleventh, with Visoiu pipping Abt for 12th – the latter having dropped down the rankings in the closing stages. Machado took 14th ahead of the Status pairing of Stockinger and Weckstrom, with Buller, Suranovich, Spavone and Brundle completing the top 20. The quartet of Piria, Ringel, Cregan and Shiraishi took the next four places, while Niederhauser only managed one lap.
For the second day of the test, the quickest and slowest drivers of today will swap places, with Muller heading to Tech 1 and Shiraishi moving in the opposite direction. At Status, Spain's Nil Montserrat will make his GP3 debut in place of Sims.
|1.||Mitch Evans||MW Arden||1'31.371||7|
|2.||Aaro Vainio||Lotus GP||1'31.820||12|
|3.||Tio Ellinas||Marussia Manor Racing||1'32.194||15|
|4.||Matias Laine||MW Arden||1'32.218||9|
|5.||TamÃ¡s PÃ¡l Kiss||Atech CRS GP||1'32.225||7|
|6.||Alexander Sims||Status Grand Prix||1'32.308||26|
|7.||Marlon Stockinger||Status Grand Prix||1'32.350||11|
|9.||Nico MÃ¼ller||Trident Racing||1'32.405||26|
|10.||Fabiano Machado||Marussia Manor Racing||1'32.489||35|
|11.||Antonio Felix Da Costa||Carlin||1'32.574||15|
|12.||Conor Daly||Lotus GP||1'32.741||14|
|13.||Miki Weckstrom||Status Grand Prix||1'32.837||9|
|14.||Daniel Abt||Lotus GP||1'32.845||14|
|15.||David Fumanelli||MW Arden||1'32.892||9|
|16.||Patric Niederhauser||Jenzer Motorsport||1'32.977||28|
|19.||Robert Visoiu||Jenzer Motorsport||1'33.246||21|
|20.||Dmitry Suranovich||Marussia Manor Racing||1'33.912||16|
|21.||Antonio Spavone||Trident Racing||1'34.112||23|
|22.||Ethan Ringel||Atech CRS GP||1'34.377||21|
|23.||Vicky Piria||Trident Racing||1'34.456||11|
|24.||Robert Cregan||Tech 1 Racing||1'35.212||15|
|25.||Yuki Shiraishi||Tech 1 Racing||1'36.614||8|
|1.||Nico MÃ¼ller||Trident Racing||1'31.285||26|
|2.||Mitch Evans||MW Arden||1'31.300||16|
|3.||Antonio Felix Da Costa||Carlin||1'31.361||27|
|4.||Aaro Vainio||Lotus GP||1'31.461||28|
|5.||Conor Daly||Lotus GP||1'31.487||34|
|6.||Matias Laine||MW Arden||1'31.498||22|
|7.||Tio Ellinas||Marussia Manor Racing||1'31.640||30|
|8.||TamÃ¡s PÃ¡l Kiss||Atech CRS GP||1'31.713||14|
|9.||David Fumanelli||MW Arden||1'31.745||33|
|11.||Alexander Sims||Status Grand Prix||1'31.941||32|
|12.||Robert Visoiu||Jenzer Motorsport||1'32.043||30|
|13.||Daniel Abt||Lotus GP||1'32.089||28|
|14.||Fabiano Machado||Marussia Manor Racing||1'32.203||39|
|15.||Marlon Stockinger||Status Grand Prix||1'32.240||24|
|16.||Micki Weckstrom||Status Grand Prix||1'32.252||26|
|18.||Dmitry Suranovich||Marussia Manor Racing||1'32.831||33|
|19.||Antonio Spavone||Trident Racing||1'32.849||30|
|21.||Vicky Piria||Trident Racing||1'33.383||25|
|22.||Ethan Ringel||Atech CRS GP||1'33.535||29|
|23.||Robert Cregan||Tech 1 Racing||1'33.911||28|
|24.||Yuki Shiraishi||Tech 1 Racing||1'35.125||21|
|25.||Patric Niederhauser||Jenzer Motorsport||12.17,532.||1|