Williamson tops final day of testing in Estoril
Rookie Lewis Williams continued his impressive form by topping the final session of GP3 post-season testing at Circuit Estoril today. The Atech CRS GP driver posted the quickest time of afternoon 1:31.230.
There were two new drivers and a few seat swaps for the final day of testing today in Portugal: GP3 Series welcomed Gabriel Chaves and Oli Webb to the paddock. American driver Chaves jumped in to the #2 ART Grand Prix car in place of Matias Laine, and Brit Webb replaced GP3 regular Ivan Lukashevich at Status GP. Adrian Tambay was back in his Manor car, Dean Smith was testing for Status GP, Adriano Buzaid replaced Roberto Merhi at Addax Team, and Aaro Vainio took over from Doru Sechealriu at Tech 1 Racing.
Once again the GP3 drivers were treated to blue skies when they hit the track in Portugal this morning. It was Adrien Tambay who finished the session on top, but rookie Williamson impressed once. The Atech CRS GP driver continued his fast pace from yesterday and posted the second quickest time of 1:31.098, just 0.125 seconds behind the more experienced and GP3 race winner Tambay. Nigel Melker and Pedro Nunes were third and fourth quickest ahead of Chaves - the American posting impressive lap times during his first outing in the car.
By the afternoon the young guns continued their strong form, with Robin Frijns, Williamson, and Mitch Evans all running in the top spots for the majority of the session. After a frantic shootout on new tyres during the dying minutes of the session it was the Brit who came out on top, but only just -Frijns was hot on his heels and just 0.013 seconds behind. Smith settled in well at Status GP and finished third ahead of Chaves and James Colado. Evans ended the session sixth. RSC Mucke Motorsport's Andrina Gugger was unable to take part in either session today after injuring her hand in yesterday's afternoon session.
After three days of testing the thirty young drivers were all getting used to their new cars, and there were just four red flags during the final sessions. Reliability was also exceptional: Over the three-days the drivers completed 6,269 laps between them, totalling 26,217 kilometres.
GP3 Series Technical Director Didier Perrin commented: "This is what you call a trouble free test session. The reliability this week in Estoril has been very impressive for all of the teams. Not a single car has stopped out on track due to reliability issues and we have encountered only very minor glitches with the thirty cars."
The GP3 cars will be back on track next week in Jerez for the second post-season test. Once again all thirty cars will run for three days on 20th-22nd October.