Melker ends Jerez testing on top
22 October 2010 – The Netherlands’ Nigel Melker led the way as this weekend’s three-day GP3 test session in Jerez came to a close on Friday. With a best effort of 1:34.747, the MSC Mücke car was joined in the top three by the MW Arden of Denmark’s Michael Christensen and Addax Team machine of Spain’s Roberto Merhi.
A total of 37 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, António Félix da Costa and Conor Daly joined Callum MacLeod at Carlin and finally Miki Monras headed to Tech 1 Racing.
The seasoned GP3 drivers were back in business during the morning, dominating the top five positions in the session. RSC Mücke 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 23 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 team-mate Simon Trummer was fourth. Jenzer’s Nico Müller was fifth ahead of ART Grand Prix’s James Calado. Carlos Sainz Jr, 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 1 driver Mark Webber’s team, which 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 team-mates 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 6,332 laps between them, totalling 28,038 kilometres (17,422 miles).
GP3 testing will resume in 2011