Reigning British Formula Ford champion Scott Pye set the fastest time in a one-day pre-season test for the 2011 Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series.

The Australian 21-year old set his and day’s fastest time in the morning session, lapping the 2.6 mile Cheshire circuit in 1:27.621s. In keeping with several other quick times set during British F3 pre-season testing, Pye was over a second faster than last year’s pole position time, set by eventual 2010 champion, Jean Eric Vergne. Conditions were sunny and dry throughout and many expected the lap-times to tumble further still, but Pye’s time was left unchallenged, with none of his rivals entering the 1:27s for the rest of the day.

“I am really pleased with the way things have gone today. I love Oulton Park; it's my favourite circuit, and I was on top here the first time I drove it in testing in a Formula Ford. Double R has done some valuable development work between the official tests and we have made big strides forward. I was quick on old tyres and new, so it bodes well for us. I just can't wait to get to Monza now.” Pye said, clearly happy with his performances in his Formula 3 debut season.

Another surprise of the session was British Formula 3 National Class champion, Menasheh Idafar. The T-Sport driver also set the 2nd quickest time of the day in the morning, 3 tenths behind Pye. Carlin, usually occupying the top slots in the timesheets, could only get Carlos Huertas in to 3rd place, the Columbian lying just outside the 1:27 bracket.

Pietro Fantin was 4th quickest for HiTech, followed by Rupert Svendsen-Cook, Pipo Derani and Felipe Nasr respectively – all separated by less than a tenth of a second. Kevin Magnussen, Lucas Foresti and Harry Tincknell rounded out the top 10.

Some sizable shunts from a few drivers also littered the session, with Jazeman Jaafar crashing in the morning session and damaging the rear end of his car. Whilst Sino Vision Racing‘s newly signed Adderly Fong suffered a much larger accident; he was knocked out cold by the crash and was quickly taken to hospital for precautionary checks.

One final pre-season test remains before the start of the British F3 season in Monza. The 2-day test will take place at the recently redesigned Snetterton 300 circuit in Norfolk, after which the teams will head to Italy for the opening rounds on 16-17 April.

Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series
Official testing, Oulton Park / 22 March 2011

Leading runners sessions 1 / 2 / 3 (fastest time in bold)

1  Scott PYE / AUS,  Double R Dallara-Mercedes  1:27.621 / 1:28.735 / 1:28.429
2  Menasheh IDAFAR / GBR,  T-Sport Dallara-VW  1:27.989 / 1:28.662 / 1:28.445
3  Carlos HUERTAS / COL,  Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen  1:28.093 / 1:28.800 / 1:28.207
4  Pietro FANTIN / BRA,  Hitech Dallara-Volkswagen  1:29.436 / 1:29.517 / 1:28.332
5  Rupert SVENDSEN-COOK / GBR,  Carlin Dallara-VW  1:28.501 / 1:28.339 / 1:28.381
6  Pipo DERANI / BRA,  Double R Dallara-Mercedes  1:29.553 / 1:28.653 / 1:28.346
7  Felipe NASR / BRA,  Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen  1:28.737 / 1:28.518 / 1:28.402
8  Kevin MAGNUSSEN / DEN,  Carlin Dallara-VW  1:28.481 / 1:29.345 / 1:28.993
9  Lucas FORESTI / BRA,  Fortec Dallara-Mercedes  1:30.557 / 1:29.342 / 1:28.643
10  Harry TINCKNELL / GBR,  Fortec Dallara-Merc  1:29.925 / 1:29.181 / 1:28.701

1  Bart HYLKEMA / NED,  T-Sport Dallara-Mugen Honda  1:31.322 / 1:30.821 / 1:30.618
2  Kotaru SAKURAI / JAP,  Hitech Dallara-Mugen Honda  1:31.771 / no time / 1:31.877

Full timings can be found here: