The first of the GP3 Series pre-season testing sessions got underway today at Circuito Estoril in Portugal.
Japanese driver Nirei Fukuzumi ended the day with the quickest time with a 1:28.645s. Prior to the two hour lunch break the quickest time had been held by Dutchman Steijn Schothorst with a 1:29.792s.
Running was slow to get going, as a result of rain overnight meaning the track was still wet at the start of the session. Within the opening hour just six drivers had posted a lap time – with the rest completing an installation lap. An early stoppage was caused after Arden International‘s Tatiana Calderon stopped on track as a result of technical gremlins.
A second red flag was brought out after Campos Racing‘s Konstantin Tereschenko ran off into the gravel, the track was green once again with Jake Hughes sitting at the top of the timing screens.
As time ticked down in the session, Schothorst was first to dip into the 1m29s barrier to finish the morning session in P1 ahead of Jake Dennis, Alexander Albon, Santino Ferrucci, Alex Palou, Matthew Parry, Fukuzumi, Hughes, Ralph Boschung and Tereshchenko.
After the lunch break, the afternoon session begun in very high winds. Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc was fastest as the action got going again but was soon displaced by Albon, Hughes and Kevin Jörg.
It was an ART Grand Prix one-two for a while when Leclerc shot up to P2 behind his Japanese team-mate.
As the end of the day drew nearer it was all change out front. Parry broke into the 1m28s to P1, ahead of Jenzer Motorsport‘s Oscar Tunjo, the only driver testing yet to be confirmed to a ride for 2016, and Koiranen GP’s Boschung.
The third red flag of the day was yet again caused by Tereschenko but this time came as a result of stopping on track – once his car was removed there was a frantic end to the session.
Fukuzumi flew to the top of the standings ahead of Dennis with: Albon, Leclerc, Jack Aitken, Hughes, Parry, Palou, Jörg and Tunjo rounding off the top ten.
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