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Gunther tops close pre-season European F3 test at Paul Ricard

by Peter Allen
Maximilian Gunther

Photo: FIA Formula 3 European Championship

Maximilian Gunther posted the fastest time in the pre-season test day ahead of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship opener at Paul Ricard.

Gunther’s Prema team rarely shows its true pace in testing and that was the case in the two days of running at Vallelunga earlier in March, but Gunther was unleashed in the afternoon to set a time of 1m21.481s.

That was just four thousandths of a second ahead of his former ADAC Formel Masters rival and 2015 team-mate?Mikkel Jensen.

Lance Stroll was just a hundredth off his team-mate Gunther’s pace in third, while?Motopark rookie?Joel?Eriksson was within 0.028s of the German in fourth. Another Motopark driver?Sergio Sette Camara was the last driver?within a tenth?in fifth place.

Hitech’s?George Russell was sixth?in front of Prema driver?Nick Cassidy. Formula Renault graduate?Anthoine Hubert was the best Van Amersfoort Racing driver in eighth, while Italian Formula 4 champion?Ralf Aron?ensured all four Prema drivers were inside the top 10.

Completing the top 10 was?Niko Kari, whose Motopark team had continued its strong form with Sette Camara leading the slower morning session ahead of Hubert and Jensen.

Combined test day times
Pos Driver Team Session 1 Session 2
1 Maximilian Gunther Prema Powerteam 1:22.553 1:21.481
2 Mikkel Jensen Mucke Motorsport 1:22.233 1:21.485
3 Lance Stroll Prema Powerteam 1:22.507 1:21.491
4 Joel Eriksson Motopark 1:22.386 1:21.509
5 Sergio Sette Camara Motopark 1:22.123 1:21.564
6 George Russell HitechGP 1:22.642 1:21.649
7 Nick Cassidy Prema Powerteam 1:22.773 1:21.697
8 Anthoine Hubert Van Amersfoort Racing 1:22.140 1:21.723
9 Ralf Aron Prema Powerteam 1:22.904 1:21.761
10 Niko Kari Motopark 1:23.161 1:21.817
11 Callum Ilott Van Amersfoort Racing 1:22.477 1:21.954
12 Pedro Piquet Van Amersfoort Racing 1:22.404 1:21.968
13 Ben Barnicoat HitechGP 1:22.675 1:21.981
14 Raoul Hyman Carlin 1:22.741 1:21.991
15 Alessio Lorandi Carlin 1:22.910 1:21.999
16 Harrison Newey Van Amersfoort Racing 1:22.400 1:22.098
17 Ryan Tveter Carlin 1:22.266 1:22.227
18 Guan Yu Zhou Motopark 1:22.855 1:22.241
19 Nikita Mazepin HitechGP 1:23.189 1:22.439
20 Arjun Maini ThreeBond with T-Sport 1:23.256 1:23.114
21 Li Zhi Cong Carlin 1:23.811 1:23.317