Newly announced F1 driver for 2014, Daniil Kvyat showed he meant business by topping the times in the opening session of Round 8 of the season in Abu Dhabi. The Russian driver’s best lap was a 1:57.130. Alexander Sims (Carlin) and Carlos Sainz (MW Arden) posted the second and third quickest times.
After a seven-week long break from action, GP3 finishes the season in style at the spectacular setting of the Yas Marina Circuit. This is the first time the Series have raced outside of Europe. Both the Drivers’ and Team Championships’ will be decided this weekend in the final round. There were three new faces for the final round: 2012 GP3 drivers Alice Powell and Robert Cregan driving for Bamboo Engineering and Trident respectively and rookie Dean Stoneman in at Koiranen GP.
The forty-five minute practice got underway under the sweltering heat with a track temperature of 41 degrees. Kvyat was first onto the circuit and to lead the way. Adderly Fong (Status Grand Prix) stopped on track with technical gremlins, only able to complete four laps.
Sainz and Sims were next along, chasing down the Russian’s time until ART Grand Prix’s Jack Harvey split the MW Arden duo. Kvyat held an advantage of almost six-tenths, until the teams began to pit for new Pirelli rubber as the times tumbled.
Sims shot back to P2, with Jenzer Motorsport’s Patric Niederhauser moving up to third. Nick Yelloly made it two Carlin cars in the top three when he improved, with his teammate Sims displacing Kvyat at the head of the timesheets. This lasted for a few seconds until Kvyat regained his current place on top and was the first driver to dip into the 1m58’s.
Harvey, Conor Daly and Series leader Facu Regalia made it an all ART Grand Prix top three as the clock ticked down until Niederhauser flew to P1 despite a small mistake towards the end of his lap. As the chequered flag was waved Sims looked set to end the session on top but Kvyat stormed past to improve on his time by 0.028s and record the fastest time.
Behind Kvyat, Sims, Sainz, Yelloly, Niederhauser, Kevin Korjus (Koiranen GP) and Giovanni Venturini (Trident) made up the top seven. Stoneman, making his debut appearance for the Finnish outfit impressed in P8 ahead of Daly and Harvey
Qualifying takes place at 10.00am local time tomorrow morning and will be vital in the fight for the 2013 title with four points for pole which could prove very decisive in the final outcome.