Nigel Melker: "The new GP3 car has shown true potential" The first official test of the inaugural GP3 season at the HTTP track at Paul Ricard has shown the series true potential. For 19 years old Dutch Nigel Melker and Mucke Motorsport it was ...
Nigel Melker: "The new GP3 car has shown true potential"
The first official test of the inaugural GP3 season at the HTTP track at Paul Ricard has shown the series true potential. For 19 years old Dutch Nigel Melker and Mucke Motorsport it was their first taste of the new car. On Thursday morning almost an entire field of 30 cars rolled out to start the first official test.
The day started under wet conditions as a left over from the stormy weather the day before. In order to ensure each team had the possibility to analyse the data correctly and work out potential issues with either electronics or engines, the morning session was split into a 1 hour installation session, after which a one and a half hour break was set, before actual testing went on. With only minor problems during the morning session Nigel was capable of leaping the track in 1:23.958, good for the ninth position.
The afternoon session was used to get a better understanding of the cars behaviour as it was new for the entire team and all set-up had to be worked out. This saw Nigel using his second set of new tyres only at the end of the day, recording a 1:21,868, which moved him one position up in the standings. However times were improving vastly with already 2.1 seconds off the morning session.
Day 2 started underneath bright sunny skies with temperatures warming up to 8 degrees Celsius. The team had worked hard on the set-up and concentrated mostly on itself, in order to improve the car and learn from each session. During the morning session Nigel put himself on P9 again, recording a 1:21,398 with the soft compound tyres, which seem to be wearing off a lot more. According to Nigel "we need to do more work on the set-up for the softer tyres, in order to find a better balance".
During the afternoon session Melker went out on new tyres in order to try to set a time when bad luck stroke his car. With the problem fixed, Nigel did another session on the same tyres after which a small problem reoccurred. With the final half hour on the clock and still 2 sets of new tyres left, pressure began to rise in order to perform well at the end. As if Nigel didn't had enough bad luck, his first set of new soft tyres ended with a puncture! With only 7 minutes before the end of the session there was nothing else to do than pit for another set of tyres and try to set a time at all. Eventually Nigel was able to record his personal best of 1:20.920, which put him on the 8th place in the timesheets. As if it was predestined, both sessions were on the exact same spots as during the first day.
After the session Nigel Melker said; "I'm very happy with the performance. The GP3 car has showed a lot of potential and has loads of grip. Unfortunately today we had some bad luck, but that's normal driving a new series for the first time. At least I was in the top 10 during both days; although I didn't drive that much laps". Melker is looking forward to be able to get behind the wheel again and bid for an increase of performance.
-source: nigal melker