I'm really excited about the season ahead for me in GP3, says Dino Zamparelli
DINO Zamparelli feels he is getting to grips with his new car and GP3 in general after testing ninth quickest on a rain-curtailed day in Barcelona.
The Bristol driver, who recently joined the Marussia Manor GP3 team and received backing from Steve Lansdown's Bristol Sport Ltd group, was ninth of the 27 drivers on the second day of testing.
He recorded a fastest lap of 1 minute 34.52 seconds at Circuit de Catalunya, having finished 17th in the previous day's testing – his first experience of driving on the track on which he will compete in May.
A mark of Zamparelli's progress on day two was that he finished ahead of the American driver Conor Daly, who posted the fastest lap on day one. And the 20-year-old, pictured, said: "It was good. It was the first time I had been to the circuit, so day one was all about learning the circuit and getting back the feel of the car.
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"Day two was really good – in the morning, it was dry and we put a new set of tyres on and it felt as if everything clicked into place. It was really positive – and then the rain started."
The next testing takes place at Silverstone on April 3-4 – a track that Zamparelli has already experienced. And his familiarity with the circuit gives him a head start he did not enjoy in Barcelona this week.
"I know the Silverstone circuit, so I won't have to spend the first day of testing learning the circuit like I did in Barcelona," he said.
"Hopefully, I'll be able to carry on where I left off in Barcelona from day one."
Zamparelli's season begins in Barcelona in May – and he is adjusting to life as a GP3 driver and having all the support that comes with it, as opposed to having to scrape around for sponsorship off the track.
"I've had to shift the way I work, because I am used to taking on the role of seeking sponsorship and doing promotion," he said. "Now there are people who really help me with that, and Bristol Sport's backing means I am able to ease off on some of the other things I used to worry about.
"I can completely forget about that and focus on getting myself 100 per cent ready, mentally and physically, for testing and the season itself. I'm getting there in terms of understanding everything about GP3, but it takes a bit of time and I have now had five days in the car.
"I'm really excited about the season ahead and the room for improvement. I'm still developing my understanding of GP3, the tracks and everything else. But we were in the top ten in testing in both Estoril and Barcelona, so there is a good base to work from. We're getting there and it's only a matter of time before the final piece of the puzzle is in place."