Leonardo Pulcini Tops Day 2 of Jerez GP3 Testing


Credit: Joe Portlock/GP3 Series Media Service

Day two of GP3 Series testing at Jerez de la Frontera ended with Leonardo Pulcini quickest from Pedro Piquet and Jack Hughes.

Rain had hit the circuit overnight once again making the conditions at the opening of the day difficult, culminating in plenty of wet tyre running.

Piquet, was first to leave the pitlane with the entire field soon filtering out to get acquainted with the damp track.

Simo Laaksonen, set the early pace for Campos in the opening hour which stood firmly at the top of the timing as the track took its time to dry out.

A red flag disrupted the running as Hughes stopped at Turn 5 bringing a short break to the morning’s action.

The session was gotten back underway by ART Grand Prix‘s trio Callum IlottAnthoine Hubert and Nikita Mazepin but Laaksonen’s time remained untouched heading into the second hour as teams elected to run race simulations.

Juan Manuel Correa was the first driver to make the switch to slick tyres, but was unable to overhaul Laaksonen’s lap despite setting a number of personal best times.

The Finn’s benchmark was finally usurped by David Beckmann, who had stuck with wet tyres.

Niko Kari and MP Motorsport team-mate Dorian Boccolacci enjoyed a clear track with slick tyres with just 30 minutes remaining on the morning session to occupy the top of the timesheets – beating Beckmann’s time by four seconds.

The duo set about raising the bar ahead of a late flurry of activity in which Ilott, Hubert, Beckmann and Boccolacci all spent short spells leading the standings.

In the end, it was Ilott who topped the morning session pipping Hubert to first place as Mazepin completed an all-ART top three. Pulcini was fourth ahead of Boccolacci, as Beckmann was sixth with 46 laps completed on the clock – highest of the session. Guiliano Alesi was seventh by just one thousandth of a second from Laaksonen, as Kari and Joey Mawson completed the top ten.

Much sunnier conditions greeted the drivers for the afternoon session, Ryan Tveter and Tatiana Calderon were the first drivers to hit the track, before a burst of drizzle hit the track in the first 10 minutes. Pulcini got the action going again as the rain quickly retreated, becoming the first driver of the day to break the 1m30s barrier.

Hubert and Correa soon joined the Italian in the 1m30s benchmark, before the former leapfrogged Pulcini towards the end of the first hour of running. Boccolacci briefly took control of the standings, before ART once again stomped their authority with Ilott, Hubert and Hughes occupying the top three at the midpoint.

The trio continued to shuffle positions throughout the afternoon, with Hughes taking the advantage in the final hour of running. Pulcini, returned to the top with 30 minutes remaining.

Despite a number of drivers ending the session with some quick laps, Pulcini’s time remained the quickest ahead of Piquet as Hughes beat team-mate Hubert to the third fastest time. Calderon occupied fifth place ahead of Ilott, with Alesi seventh. Kari and Boccolacci were eighth and ninth and Laaksonen rounded off the top ten.

The final GP3 pre-season test will take place at the Circuit de Catalunya  from the 17-18 April ahead of the first round of the season which also takes place in Barcelona.