Felix Da Costa quickest in Jerez
MW Arden's Antonio Felix Da Costa was the quickest man on track at Jerez Circuit on the first day of GP3 Series testing today.
The three-day test in Spain this week is the second post-season session for the GP3 teams this month, and once again there were new faces in the paddock all set to try out the GP3 car for the first time. Arthur Pic, brother of GP2 race winner Charles, stepped behind the wheel of the #4 Status Grand Prix car. Carlin had an all new line-up of European F3 Open star Callum Macleod, Kevin Giovesi and Juan Carlos Sistos. George Katsinis joined RSC Mucke Motorsport, Facu Regalia joined Addax Team, Eddie Cheever joined Jenzer, and World Series driver Albert Costa joined Tech 1 Racing.
After a cool start to the morning the sun then continued to shine throughout the day as all thirty cars hit the track. Da Costa moved straight to the top of the time sheets when the lights turned green and was untouchable for the remainder of the morning session after posting his best laptime of 1:35.458. Alexander Sims made his first return to the GP3 Series since testing at Paul Ricard back in March and was second quickest for ART Grand Prix. Jenzer's Nico Muller jumped back into the cockpit of his Jenzer car after a two-day hiatus in Estoril last week, and finished the session third. Tech 1 Racing's Costa and Carlin's Macleod were the top rookies finishing the session in sixth and seventh respectively.
After the customary lunch break the cars headed back out on track, and it was GP3 regular Rio Haryanto who was quick out the box for Manor Racing, closely followed by ART Grand Prix's Sims and Simon Trummer for MW Arden. By the midway point Sims had edged his way ahead of Indonesian Haryanto and remained at the top of times until the dying minutes of the session, when, despite spending most of the afternoon in the pits with mechanical gremlins, Da Costa yet again found the quickest route around the 4.428km circuit in his #22 MW Arden car. Sims hung on to the second quickest laptime of the afternoon ahead of Michael Christensen who was clearly enjoying his ART Grand Prix car. Aaro Vainio was next for Tech 1 Racing, just 0.035 seconds ahead of teammate and the quickest rookie of the afternoon, Costa in fifth.