As she closes in on finalising her plans for the 2016 season, Tatiana Calderón once again turned heads with an impressive display during this week’s GP3 post-season test in Abu Dhabi.
Putting to good use the knowledge of the Yas Marina circuit gained with her appearance in the opening round of the MRF Challenge series, Tatiana showed steady improvement over the course of the two-day test in a car co-run by the outgoing Status Grand Prix team and the new-for-2016 DAMS outfit.
Tatiana was also able to draw on her experience of the Dallara GP3/13 machine from her previous GP3 test showing in Abu Dhabi a year ago, allowing her to focus from the outset on acclimatising to the unique characteristics of the Pirelli tyres – which behave very differently from the Hankook rubber she has been used to in European Formula 3 – and improving her lap times.
The opening day of the test got off to a difficult start, as Tatiana had her track time compromised by a sticking neutral button on her steering wheel. But the 22-year-old made strides in the afternoon session, knocking almost 1.4s off her personal best from the morning and rising from P16 to P13 overall with a best lap of 1m56.664s, racking up a total of 45 laps.
Further improvement was to come on the second day, although a red flag during the morning while Tatiana was using new tyres prevented her from making the progress that her pace promised. The Colombian was then only able to complete a sole flying lap on fresh rubber in the afternoon as she became bogged down in traffic, but her best effort of 1m56.077s was nonetheless good enough to end the test in P9, less than a second off the pace, having completed 86 laps over the course of the test.
Tatiana Calderón: “We had two really positive test days, and I made a big improvement from Day 1 to Day 2. One of the most challenging aspects was getting used to the Pirellis – how to warm them up and how to maximise the one or two laps you have when the tyre is new. By the end, the car was suited to my style and I was really happy with the balance, especially on the last day. Next up for me is the Carrera de Estrellas kart race in Colombia, where I’ll be competing against some of the people I grew up watching. It will be special to race at home again after such a long time – so I’m really looking forward to it!”
After competing in the Carrera de Estrellas, Tatiana will be looking to continue her strong run of form in the forthcoming round of the MRF Challenge series at the Dubai Autodrome on 18-19 December. An announcement on her 2016 plans is also expected in the near future.
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