Korjus quickest at Budapest mid-season test
Estonian driver Kevin Korjus posted the best time of the morning session with a lap time of 1:32.530 which was a new GP3 circuit record. Lewis Williamson (Bamboo Engineering) topped the times in the afternoon on day one of testing in mixed weather conditions.
Following Round 1 in Barcelona three weeks ago, GP3 Series returned to action for a two-day mid-season test at the Hungaroring. With the next race taking place in just a week’s time in Valencia, track time was vital for the teams and drivers with their new GP3/13 car in preparation for the busy schedule ahead.
After a deluge of rain on set-up day and rain forecast for the test, the paddock were pleasantly surprised to be welcomed with a dry start to proceedings, if only 15 degrees with heavy clouds hovering above. The 27 drivers took to the track to set their installation laps and after a short time, ventured back onto the circuit to set the pace while some drivers concentrated on race simulations.
Jenzer Motorsport’s Patric Niederhauser was the first to complete a lap in the early 1m34’s with Koiranen GP duo of Aaro Vainio and Patrick Kujala close in pursuit. The 1m33’s barrier was broken by MW Arden’s Daniil Kvyat as the times began to tumble at the mid-point of the morning session.
Williamson’s lap of 1:32.781 was the new target to beat when he was first to dip into the 1:32’s, until Korjus improved on his laptime to go just over two tenths faster than the Scot. At the close of play of the morning test, Korjus finished on top ahead of the Bamboo Engineering pair of Williamson and Melville McKee. Fourth was Facu Regalia (ART Grand Prix), Alex Fontana (Jenzer Motorsport), Kvyat, Vainio, David Fumanelli (Trident), Niederhauser and Marussia Manor Racing’s Tio Ellinas.
Light rain fell just before the afternoon session began, and the first red flag of the day occurred when Adderly Fong (Status Grand Prix) spun into the gravel at Turn 10. Dino Zamparelli was next to get caught out by the conditions as he went off at turn 3 and made contact with the barrier which brought the red flag out for a short spell. Carlos Sainz (MW Arden) headed the timings until Conor Daly and Regalia went one-two for their French outfit. Carlin’s Eric Lichtenstein was next to set the pace before GP3 Series leader Ellinas grabbed P1 off the Argentine at the midway point of the session.
With one hour left on the clock, rookies McKee and Josh Webster (Status Grand Prix) took turns heading the timings as the times continued to get faster as the track dried out. Carlin’s Nick Yelloly rose to P1 before Williamson clocked the best time of the afternoon session in a 1:33.710. The heavens opened as the session drew to a close whilst Niederhauser went off the track at Turn 11. The rain continued to hammer down, with the drivers opting not to run for the final few minutes.
At the chequered flag it was Williamson, Kvyat, Yelloly, Sainz, Vainio, Ellinas, Jimmy Eriksson (Status Grand Prix), Robert Visoiu and Webster.
Tomorrow's test session will run from 09.00 - 12.00 a one hour break. The afternoon session will run from 13.00 - 16.00 CET.