CLICK: Full times from day 1 of GP3 post-season testing at Abu Dhabi
Experienced hand Kevin Ceccon put Jenzer Motorsport at the top of the timesheets on Thursday in Abu Dhabi, despite only taking part in the morning session of the first of three days of post-season testing at the Yas Marina Circuit.
The 21-year-old Italian set the best time of the day with an early lap of 1:55.501s on the soft Pirelli compound tyres, putting himself over half a second clear of Carlin's Ed Jones in the ideal conditions of the morning session
Jones, a Dubai native, is looking to step up from FIA Formula 3 European Championship where he competed with Carlin following a full season in Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup with Fortec Motorsport the previous year.
16-year-old Briton George Russell was third fastest for Arden, with Formula Renault 2.0 driver Andrea Pizzitola fifth fastest in the ART. Having made his GP3 race début this season with Trident, Luca Ghiotto was fifth fastest for the squad ahead of series regular Patrick Kujala.
Ceccon stepped out of the car in the afternoon and handed over the keys to his 2014 team mate Mathéo Tuscher, who duly went on to finish with the fourth fastest time of the post-lunch session after posting a lap of 1:56.034s on the 3.451-mile, 21-turn desert circuit.
Ahead of Tuscher in the session were ART's Pizzitola, Arden's Mitch Gilbert and Trident's Alex Palou, but none of them could manage to equal or better Ceccon's earlier benchmark by the time the chequered flag came out at the end of the second two-and-a-half hour track availability. The best of them was Pizzitola with a time of 1:55.832s which put him just 0.053s clear of Gilbert.
There was only one stoppage in the morning session, triggered by Jenzer Motorsport's Raoul Hyman coming to a stop at turn 7 with less than ten minutes remaining before the lunchtime break. However the afternoon session saw more interruptions, starting with Trident's Alex Palou spinning just six minutes in although he was able to recover and get back to the pits without assistance.
There were later red flags for Ferrari Academy driver Antonio Fuoco stopping in the Koiranen GP car during the first hour, and then a more serious incident for Matt Rao who made contact with the barrier at turns 3 and 4 in the Carlin just after the completion of the second hour. Recover and clean-up cost the drivers 20 minutes of track time before they were allowed back out again for a final five minute run before the end of the session.
The teams will be back in action again on Friday and Saturday, alternating sessions with the GP2 drivers who are also taking the time to test at Abu Dhabi this week. Missing from the GP3 line-up is Marussia Manor Racing, which was also absent from last week's season finale as well as the previous round at Sochi in Russia.
See full times from day 1 of GP3 post-season testing at Abu Dhabi