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Nigel Melker was the fastest man as the final GP3 pre-season test of 2011 came to an end at the Circuit de Catalunya on Thursday. The Dutchman set his personal best lap during the morning session, with the afternoon once again failing to produce a pace-setting time. Britain’s Alexander Sims ended his time at the wheel just over three tenths behind Melker, while Nico Müller secured third for Jenzer Motorsport.
Despite low air and track temperatures, conditions at the Formula 1 venue remained pleasant for the drivers. This allowed Melker to post the only time of the week under the 1:38.000 barrier, sending out a strong message to his rivals ahead of the first round in Turkey. Behind Sims and Müller, 16-year-old Mitch Evans set a time quick enough for an impressive fourth place on the timing screens.
Adrian Quaife-Hobbs was next up in fifth, and he explained the main aims of his Thursday program when stepping out of the cockpit: "We did a mix of runs from one lap to race distance and we were quick, finishing day three first and by a good margin. So now I can’t wait for the first race in Istanbul. It’s time to put our testing progress into action in the races."
Marlon Stöckinger registered his fastest time of the week to finish the day in sixth, with the Filipino completing a lap of the Montmeló track in 1:38.312. He was followed closely by the man who led proceedings on the opening day of testing, Portugal’s António Félix da Costa. Tech 1 Racing team-mates Andrea Caldarelli and Aaro Vainio were eighth and ninth respectively, while James Calado rounded out the top ten.
The opening round of the 2011 GP3 season takes place in Turkey from May 6-8
RSC Mücke Motorsport
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|7.||A. Felix da Costa||01:38.321||80|
|RSC Mücke Motorsport|
|27 Jun '11||Penalties handed to three drivers|
|7 May '11||Melker wins season-opener at Istanbul Park|
|6 May '11||Melker moves ahead in second practice|
|3 May '11||Luciano Bacheta joins RSC Mücke|
|GP3 test at Circuit de Catalunya 14 April 2011|
|14 Apr '11||GP3 photos: Barcelona Testing - Day 3|
|14 Apr '11||Melker delighted with testing form|
|14 Apr '11||Melker ends final pre-season test day on top|
|16 Jan||Melker switches to FR3.5 with Tech 1|
|3 Sep '12||Ocean investigating cause of Melker crash|
|1 Sep '12||GP2 video: Heavy Eau Rouge crash for Melker|
|3 Nov '11||DAMS confirms Haryanto and Melker for Final|
|16 May||Three-day Abu Dhabi test for GP2 and GP3|
|3 May||Williamson gets final Bamboo seat|
|3 May||Cullen completes Marussia GP3 line-up|
|26 Apr||Bamboo signs McKee for 2013 season|
|More Nigel Melker photos|