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Mar 28, 2014 - 05:43 AM
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Status GP Estoril GP3 Test Day 1 Report
Posted by: newsla on Mar 28, 2014 - 05:40 AM
GP2 News
Status GP Estoril GP3 Test Day 1 Report

Status Grand Prix kicked off its pre-season testing programme for the 2014 GP3 Series on a high note at Estoril, with two cars in the top six on the opening day at the Portuguese circuit.


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Englishman Nick Yelloly and New Zealander Richie Stanaway ran first and second respectively in the morning session, which they ended fourth and fifth after a spate of late improvements from other competitors.

Yelloly, who was sixth in the GP3 Series last season with the Carlin team, recovered from a hydraulic-pump issue at the beginning of the day to go fastest with 45 minutes remaining in the morning. He remained the quickest of those not to fit a second set of Pirelli P Zero tyres.

Former GP3 race winner Stanaway has not raced a single-seater since injury curtailed his 2012 season. But the Gravity Sport Management driver, who is an Aston Martin Racing team member in the FIA World Endurance Championship, went second fastest with 20 minutes left on the clock in the morning.

Stanaway was quickest early in the afternoon session, but was demoted to fourth as he had a new set of slick tyres fitted in the pit lane. As he emerged from the pits it began to rain, so he made only a very small improvement and ended the session in fourth place.

Yelloly was frequently the fastest of those who were circulating on the track during the full-wet conditions that featured for the rest of the afternoon.

Mexican Alfonso Celis Jr joined Status GP for his first taste of GP3 power. The 17-year-old, a graduate of the Formula Renault Northern European Cup and who has limited Formula 3 experience, had also never driven at Estoril.

Celis made very strong progress throughout the day, and put in a very creditable performance to emerge with the 11th fastest time from the afternoon session.

Celis will once again join Yelloly in the Status GP line-up for the second of the two days of running on Friday, with DTM racer and 2011 Formula 3 Euro Series champion Roberto Merhi lining up alongside them.

Driver quotes:

Nick Yelloly
“I hadn’t been in a racing car since November, so it was nice to get in and find that I’ve still got it! We ended up P5 overall on the day, and that was done on my second run on a set of tyres and with a small throttle problem, so that’s pretty good. At the point I did that time, I was five tenths clear. So we were quick and the car is very good. We know that Status GP is a top team and it was great to show that.”

Richie Stanaway
“It was pretty much about shaking off the rust, and today was more about getting my confidence back with downforce. I was there or thereabouts on my second set of tyres, but I can feel I’m quite far from my potential – that would be unlocked with more mileage. It’s a shame it rained just as I put my new tyres on in the afternoon, because that took the edge off the track. I’d love to do more with Status GP – I’m keen to arrange something, that’s for sure!”

Alfonso Celis Jr
“It’s been a very nice adventure so far! Today I was merely getting used to the car – it has so much horsepower compared to what I’m used to in Formula Renault and Formula 3. The driving style is quite different too, but it’s an amazing experience. Today was just an installation day for me, no pressure at all and just focusing on driving, but I could see that I could have been quicker if I hadn’t got traffic. Hopefully I will improve again tomorrow.”

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