Frenchman Maxime Jousse placed himself as an early title contender in this year’s Formula Palmer Audi (FPA) Championship topping the series’ official test day at Snetterton.

Due to the volcanic ash cloud grounding most European flights at the time of the test (April 20) the one day – two session – test only saw a dozen of this year’s FPA class take to the 1.9 mile Norfolk venue, owned by FPA promoters Motorsport Vision (MSV).

FPA sophomore Jousse, the younger brother of Julien who ran in Formula Two – another MSV promoted series – last season set the fastest lap in the closing session of the day when the FPA’s engine “overboost” was enabled. His time of 1:05.440 was just two-hundredths faster than Briton Aaron Steele, returning to the main series for the first time since 2006.

The top three was completed by Nigel Moore (1:05.500), running with backing from sportscar manufacturer Ginetta. Moore, who raced in the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2009 improved markedly during the day jumping up from sixth in the first session to third ahead of another big improved, Matt Bell who was eighth fastest in the morning session.

Bell and Jordan Williams were credited with identical times during the afternoon session and though nominally placed fourth and fifth fastest Williams took the small reward of having set the fastest non-overboost time of the test.

“I didn’t really know what to expect ahead of the test but I improved throughout the day, so I can be happy with my performance so far,” said Williams. “This was only a test of course, but I hope to be mixing it with the quicker guys when the season gets underway.”

The morning test had been a reversal of fortune with Steele narrowly edging Jousse for fastest lap by three-hundredths with a lap of 1:05.920 with just seven-tenths covering eleven of the twelve drivers present.

The apparently evenly matched drivers bode well for the thirteenth season of FPA, which starts with a triple-header weekend on the Brands Hatch Indy Circuit on May 8-9

Photo credit: Formula Palmer Audi