Melker ends post-season tests on top
Nigel Melker's best laptime of 1:34.747 set during the final morning session at Circuito de Jerez went unbeaten this afternoon as post-season testing ended bringing the 2010 season officially to a close.
A total of thirty-seven of the most promising young driver talents around the globe took part in the three-day test in Spain this week, all with an eye to snapping up one of the thirty coveted race seats next season. There were no new faces for this final day, but there was some more seat swapping: most notably Rio Haryanto was back at ART Grand Prix, Alexander Sims was behind the wheel of the #4 Status GP car, Antonio Felix da Costa and Conor Daly joined Callum Macleod at Carlin and finally Miki Monras headed to Tech 1 Racing.
The GP3 seasoned drivers were back in business during the morning, dominating the top five positions in the session. RSC Mucke Motorsport's Melker lead for the duration of the morning and finished just 0.211 seconds ahead of MW Arden's Michael Christensen. The top twenty-three drivers were separated by less than one second showing how close the competition is between the racers. After making the switch to Addax Team for the final day of testing, Roberto Merhi had a strong session in third spot, and Christensen's teammate Simon Trummer was fourth. Jenzer's Nico Mu ller was fifth ahead of ART Grand Prix's James Calado. Carlos Sainz Jnr, Carlos Munoz, Sims and Tamas Pal Kiss rounded out the top ten.
The final afternoon session was dominated by Christensen in his #22 MW Arden car. The Dutch driver claimed the top spot straight out the pits, and the rest of the field were unable to respond. The result marked the end of an extremely strong test for Red Bull Formula One driver Mark Webber's team, who finished the 2010 season in seventh spot. The team has topped the times in four out of the six sessions this week. Haryanto was the second quickest driver of the afternoon for GP3 Series Teams' Champions ART Grand Prix, and Sims was third quickest for Status GP. Christensen's teammates Trummer and Matias Laine filled the next spots putting all three MW Arden cars in the top five.
Once again the reliability of the GP3 car has been exceptional during all three days of the test. The thirty cars have completed 6332 laps between them, totalling 28,038 kilometres.
The GP3 Series teams will now be taking a well earned break from running until they return in the New Year for pre-season testing.