Three Tests Down. A Whole Season To Look Forward To.
The GP3 Series Championship is just around the corner, so this week’s third and final pre-season test at Silverstone (11 and 12 April) provided a much-welcomed opportunity for Marussia Manor Racing GP3’s all-new driver line-up to put their cars through their paces before it really starts to count.
Russia’s Dmitry Suranovich, Cypriot Tio Ellinas and Brazilian Fabiano Machado enjoyed good reliability and important mileage across the two days of running to prepare for the European season-opener in Barcelona next month.
Day one’s running began under heavy clouds and with cool temperatures. The drivers were keen to achieve some guaranteed dry running with rain predicted for the afternoon and it was Tio who threw down the gauntlet for Marussia Manor Racing GP3, occupying P3 for the morning session. The forecast rain lived up to its promise in the afternoon, during which Fabiano and Dmitry were able to improve their times regardless.
The start of day two began with the session being declared wet, with dark clouds prevailing and a slippery circuit. No fewer than five red flags occurred with several drivers getting caught out in the tricky conditions. Tio Ellinas spent the morning trading places at the top of the timesheets. As more rain started to fall before the end of the session, he took the chequered flag in 6th position with teammates Fabiano and Dmitry ending the day 20th and 21st respectively.
The GP3 Series 2012 campaign now begins at the Circuit de Catalunya on 11-13 May.
“The tests have passed by so quickly but I’m really very happy with the positive progress. We continue to be strong and I am confident that we can carry this competitiveness through to the season. I’m very excited about the season-opener in Barcelona and about the season generally.”
“After this final preparation I can’t wait to get the season underway next month in Spain. The field is going to be interesting this year and it will be important for us to start out as strong as we can.”
“Another good test with a lot of progress made and I am happy that we are now prepared for the start of the season next month. It will be a very close-fought championship this year and I am happy to be in the fight.””
Pete Sliwinski, Team Principal
“With the final pre-season under our belts we are ready for the real action to start in Barcelona next month. All three drivers have gained some very positive mileage and experience to prepare them for what will be a tough but fascinating battle. Once again, Tio has done a particularly strong job but I know there is plenty more to come from the team and the drivers. From Spain onwards we’ll be racing alongside our parent, the Marussia F1 Team, and the interaction that provides the drivers with will be another valuable education for them. My thanks to everyone in the team for a great job so far. Now we just need to keep it coming.”