British driver Alexander Sims (Status Grand Prix) topped the opening session of Round 4 of the GP3 Series on his return to GP3. Carlin’s Eric Lichtenstein and Marussia Manor Racing’s Dino Zamparelli were second and third.

The 27 drivers fed onto the Nurburgring circuit with warm temperatures and a dry track. Many of the drivers list Nurburgring as one of their favourite tracks to drive with a selection of them making their first appearance at this track and using the 45 minute session wisely to learn the challenges of the German circuit.

Carlos Sainz (MW Arden) was first to exit the pitlane, with the Spaniard topping the timesheets within the first 15 minutes. His teammate Daniil Kvyat and Lewis Williamson (Bamboo Engineering) kept him on his toes, the trio regularly swapping positions for the head of the timings.

Koiranen GP’s Kevin Korjus was first to break into the 1m46’s with Melville McKee (Bamboo Engineering) into P2. Aaro Vainio ran wide over the kerbs which sent the Finn into a spin, though he was able to recover without damage. Williamson was again on the pace and flew into the 1m45’s with the majority of the pack pitting with 10 minutes left on the clock. Some drivers opted for new rubber with the Medium compound this weekend, whilst others used scrubbed tyres from the previous round.

The Scotsman re-enforced his position at the top of the timings, improving on his own lap but the times were to tumble in the final three minutes with Jack Harvey (ART Grand Prix), Zamparelli and Lichtenstein all snatching P1. It was to be Sims’ day though as he set the fastest time as the chequered flag was waved. The Status Grand Prix driver has returned for a one-off round to replace Adderly Fong.

Sims claimed P1, ahead of Lichtenstein, Zamparelli, Harvey, Williamson, Nick Yelloly (Carlin), Tio Ellinas (Marussia Manor Racing), Carlin’s Luis Sa Silva and the Trident pair of David Fumanelli and Giovanni Venturini.

Qualifying takes place at 09.45 CET tomorrow morning and this will be vital with the Series reaching the midway point of the season as the title chase is on.

GP3 Series