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GP3: Fuoco fastest on day 2 as Aitken goes top in the afternoon

Antonio Fuoco set the fastest time of the second day of GP3 post-season testing in Abu Dhabi, but Jack Aitken topped the afternoon session.
Ferrari Academy Driver Antonio Fuoco continued to impress as he remained at Trident for a second day and set the fastest time of anyone - but by only a whisker from Jack Aitken, this year's winner of the Formula Renault 2.0 EuroCup.

It had been a good morning for the Italian Trident squad, Fuoco having a fun battle for the top spot early in the session with his team mate for the day Kevin Joerg before finally putting matters beyond doubt by recording what proved to be the day's best time of 1:55.135s on the 3.451-mile, 21-turn circuit late in the two and a half hour session.

Arden's Jake Dennis had finished his first GP3 session on Wednesday with fourth place and improved to third in the afternoon, so it was only fitting that the European F3 Championship driver should progress to second place as he remained with the team on Thursday. He was just 0.058s away from pipping Fuoco to the session honours.

Having topped the timesheets on day 1 of testing, Charles Leclerc continued to impress after an overnight move to join Dennis at Arden, although he was only six thousandths of a second faster than Koiranen GP's Matevos Isaakyan when the chequered flag came out for lunch.

Fifth fastest was the third Arden car in the hands of Jack Aitken who was three hundredths of a second ahead of Formula Renault 2.0 ALPS Champion Jake Hughes in the Status Grand Prix car. Having been fastest early in the session, Joerg slipped down to seventh place by the finish.

The highest placed ART car was that of Formula 3 Japan driver Nirei Fukuzumi in ninth, the team trying out newcomers Nyck De Vries and Alex Albon in their other two cars. The other fresh face on Thursday was that of Rahul Raj Mayer who joined Campos Racing for the day's track activity.

There were three red flags during the morning, the first being for Mayer who spun at turn 4 early in the session. There was a second stoppage when Jenzer Motorsport's Antoni Ptak made contact with the barrier at turn 19, and subsequently a third after Campos Racing's Konstantin Tereshchenko came to a halt at turn 9.

In the afternoon, Dennis took charge for Arden early on before Hughes took over in the Status Grand Prix #9 car, and then it was Fuoco's turn to present his credentials and become the first man to go under 1:56s since lunch. Dennis fought back and was able to retake his earlier position at the top of the timesheets with 20 minutes still on the clock with a tenth and a half in hand over the Italian, but then his own team mate for the day Aitken was able to go faster by almost two tenths to settle the matter.

The session ended early after Will Palmer went into the barrier, the 2015 BRDC Formula 4 Champion having swapped from Arden to Status Grand Prix overnight. There had also been an earlier red flag for Steijn Schothorst's Trident stopping at turn 7 and a brief pause 20 minutes before the end of the session for some track clean-up.

The GP3 teams have one final day in Abu Dhabi tomorrow, with the morning session getting underway at 9am local time (5am GMT) and the afternoon stint at 3pm (11am GMT) before everyone gets to pack up and head home for the winter break.

See full test times from day 1 of post-season testing at Abu Dhabi
See full test times from day 2 of post-season testing at Abu Dhabi



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
2015 GP3 Series Test 4. Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Thursday 3 December 2015. Antonio Fuoco (ITA, Trident) Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service.
2015 GP3 Series Test 4. Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Thursday 3 December 2015. Antonio Fuoco (ITA, Trident) Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service.
Antonio Giovinazzi - Prema Racing [credit: GP2 Series]
Antonio Giovinazzi - Prema Racing [credit: GP2 Series]
Antonio Giovinazzi - Prema Racing [credit: GP2 Series]
Antonio Giovinazzi - Prema Racing
Antonio Giovinazzi - Prema Racing
Antonio Giovinazzi - Prema Racing
Antonio Giovinazzi - Prema Racing
Antonio Giovinazzi - Prema Racing
Antonio Giovinazzi - Prema Racing
Charles Leclerc, ART Grand Prix, GP3 [Credit: XPB]
Charles Leclerc - ART   [pic credit: GP3 Media]
Norman Nato - Racing Engineering
Charles Leclerc - ART Grand Prix
Charles Leclerc, ART Grand Prix, GP3 [Credit: XPB]
Jake Hughes - DAMS [credit: GP3 Series]
Jake Hughes - DAMS [credit: GP3 Series]

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