The first pre-season test of the 2012 GP3 Series season got underway this week at the Estoril Circuit in Portugal. After nearly three months, the Marussia Manor Racing GP3 team were back on track with the fresh new driver line-up of Dmitry Suranovich, Fabiano Machado and Tio Ellinas at the wheel of the Dallara GP3 for the first time this season.
The test got underway yesterday with all three Marussia Manor Racing GP3 rookie drivers getting to grips with the track and the car. Tio set the third fastest lap of the morning (1:32.194), only 0.8s away from the quickest time. Fabiano had a good first morning and, despite a brief excursion into the gravel, he finished 10th with a best time of 1:32.489. Dmitry was 20th after completing 20 laps.
Yesterday afternoon all three Marussia Manor Racing drivers improved their morning times and were in the top 10 for most of the session. Tio was in good form again and ended up 7th (1:31.640), only 0.4s behind Nico Muller. Fabiano was the driver who completed the most laps in both sessions, a total of 74, ending the day 14th. Dmitry finished in 18th position.
Today was another positive day of testing. Tio was second fastest in the morning and this afternoon he set the fastest time (1:31.083). He continued his good form from winter testing and demonstrated strong pace during both days. Fabiano and Dmitry showed consistent improvement during today’s two sessions as they continued to get used to the GP3 Series. Dmitry was 11th in both sessions while Fabiano was 12th in the morning and 23rd this afternoon.
The Marussia Manor Racing GP3 team will be back on track at the second pre-season test in Barcelona, 12-13 March.
Pete Sliwinski, Team Principal
“It’s good to be back out on track for the first time this season with our new driver line-up. The team has worked very hard over the winter and this first test is just what we needed as this is the first GP3 season for Tio, Fabiano and Dmitry. It has been a very constructive couple of days for us. We focused mainly on our drivers getting used to a new formula, even though we have also worked on developing the car set-up and gathered plenty of information. All three drivers have done a very good job.”
“It’s good to be back in the car and I am very happy with this first test. We collected a lot of data that is going to be very useful for the future. I was also able to complete some very good runs and continue to get used to the car. I feel in very good form.”
“This was my first time driving in GP3 with Marussia Manor Racing and I am very pleased with my debut. My first two days with the team have been very useful to understand this category even better. Everything is still very new to me and there is still a lot for me to learn, but I am quickly getting to grips with the car and I already feel like at home with the team.”
“I am very happy with this first test of the season and with how the team is working. We were able to complete some good runs and I feel even more confident now than when I tested with the team at the end of last season. Racing in New Zealand’s Toyota Racing Series during the winter has also been very beneficial for me. This is going to be my first full season in GP3 and even though it’s still all quite new for me I think we are heading in the right direction and I feel more comfortable every time.”