Swiss ace Patric Niederhauser clocked the best time on the third and final day of post-season testing at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi. ART Grand Prix’s Oliver Rowland topped the morning session. Niederhauser’s personal best, a 1:55.372 was a tenth quicker than the fastest time from the morning test.
There were three new faces to the last day of the test: Levin Amweg and Sheikh Hasher Al Maktoum – both for Jenzer Motorsport and Saeed Al Mehairi (Trident).
Jack Hawksworth (Status Grand Prix) was the early pace setter until Rowland who had made the switch to ART Grand Prix surged to the front. Fellow ART Grand Prix tester Alex Fontana shot into P2, whilst Rowland was the first to lap in the 1m55’s.
After the two and half hour session, the chequered flag was waved with the top ten as Rowland, Niederhauser, Fontana, Hawksworth, Emil Bernstorff and Jan Mardenborough (both MW Arden), Dino Zamparelli and Melville McKee with (Marussia Manor Racing), Jimmy Eriksson (ART Grand Prix) and Nick Cassidy (Status Grand Prix).
Following GP2’s turn on track since the Series’ are sharing the test sessions, the afternoon test got underway and once again it was Rowland who headed the timesheets early doors. The top three spots were held by ART Grand Prix as Fontana and Eriksson slotted into second and third. At the midway point Cassidy was on the move into P2, until Niederhauser bettered his time by three hundredths of a second.
With 30 minutes remaining Dean Stoneman (Koiranen GP) disposed of Rowland’s P1 with Eriksson rising up to second, but Rowland found some extra pace to reclaim his position at the head of the timesheet by a mere 0.008s. However, Niederhauser had other plans and knocked the Brit off the top spot with 15 mins left on the clock.
The second red flag occurred at the close of play with Al Maktoum spinning at Turn 2. This gave the 27 drivers one chance for a hot lap and it was Niederhauser who held on to claim top spot at the chequered flag. Rowland was second, two tenths off, ahead of Stoneman, Eriksson, McKee, Mardenborough, Bernstorff, Fontana, Cassidy and Hawksworth.