Marussia Manor Racing’s Oliver Rowland tops both sessions in Abu Dhabi
British rookie driver Oliver Rowland was quickest in both the morning and afternoon sessions of day two of GP3 testing at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi. The Marussia Manor Racing driver clocked a best laptime of 1:55.600.
Robert Visoiu was back in the MW Arden machine and he was quick to set the early pace with Patric Niederhauser in P2, the Swiss driver having switched to ART Grand Prix for the second day of testing. Rowland shot to P1, two tenths faster than the Romanian before Trident’s Roman de Beer moved himself up the order to second.
There was a short stoppage when Ivan Taranov (RUSSIAN TIME) made light contact with the barrier at Turn 8. Once the action resumed Dean Stoneman (Koiranen GP) rose to fourth before Kuba Dalewski spun, which created a small interruption with the red flag.
Carmen Jorda (Koiranen GP) spun at turn 14 at the close of the session and as the chequered flag was waved, the timings finished as: Rowland (highest rookie), Niederhauser, Visoiu, Stoneman, Emil Bernstorff (Carlin), de Beer, Marvin Kirchhofer (MW Arden), Alex Fontana (ART Grand Prix), Edward Jones (MW Arden) and Jimmy Eriksson (RUSSIAN TIME).
Following GP2’s turn on track since both Series’ are sharing track time, there was one addition to the afternoon driver line-up with American driver Gustavo Menezez driving the number 10 car at Jenzer Motorsport. Niederhauser claimed top of the timings until Rowland put in a flier with David Fumanelli into third. At the midway point, it was all change at the top with Carlin’s Jan Mardenborough shooting to P1, but only for a matter of seconds before Visoiu regained the head of the timesheets.
Stoneman moved into P2, one tenth shy of the quickest time, whilst with one hour left on the clock, the red flags were out for Marvin Kirchhofer who stopped on track. The MW Arden driver was back out and certainly on the pace as he became the first driver to lap in the 1m55’s barrier as well as bagging a provisional P1. Stoneman and Visoiu improved, demoting the German rookie to third a short time after and with 15 minutes remaining, Rowland was keen to pocket fastest times in both sessions and lapped a tenth quicker than the Koiranen GP driver to end the day in position one. Niederhauser rose to P2 as the chequered flag called an end on the day.
The top ten finished as Rowland, Niederhauser, Stoneman, Visoiu, Kirchhofer, de Beer, Fontana, Eriksson, Mardenborough and Jones.
GP3 will run the same schedule as today for the third and final day of testing with the morning session at 09.00 – 11.30 and the afternoon one at 15.00 – 17.30.