Dino Zamparelli came out on top on day one of the official Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship test at Croft. The Antel Motorsport driver set his quickest time in the final 55 minute session of the day, beating closest rival Archie Hamilton.
Only ten drivers were out on track for the series' first official test of the year, with some electing to skip to test and many teams and drivers still yet to confirm their 2011 plans. Those who made the trip up to North Yorkshire were treated to dry, sunny conditions as they lapped the 2.1250-mile circuit.
Zamparelli, who finished third in the championship in 2009 with three wins, finished runner up in the two opening sessions. Many of the drivers moved onto fresh tyres for the final session and the 2008 Ginetta Junior Champion got the most out of them, setting a time of 1min 19.463s.
A close second was fellow series returnee Hamilton, who also raced in the series in 2009. The 19 year old impressed from the off, setting the fastest times in both the first two sessions, beating Zamparelli in the second by over three tenths of a second. He ended the day just 0.076 seconds off Zamparelli joining him in beating last year's pole time.
Third fastest overall was Mtech driver James Thorp, who moves into the series after competing in last year's Formula Palmer Audi Championship. The 18 year old ended the day just over a second off the top of the charts, closely followed by Hillspeed's Indian racer Zaamin Jaffer.
Impressing throughout the day was single seater rookie Hector Hurst, who finished third in both the day's first two sessions. However a spin in the final session saw the Hampshire driver retire early on, leaving him fifth overall with his quickest lap of 1min 20.808s from session two.
Fortec Motorsport's Spanish racer Victor Jiminez was next up, ahead of new team JWA Racing's Tom Walker. Hillspeed driver Sean Walkinshaw set the eighth fastest time of the day, closely followed by SWB Motorsport's Raoul Owens. Suffering a tough day at Croft was Russian Ivan Taranov, with a spin at Hawthorne Bend in the first session ending his day early on.
Speaking at the end of the day, Zamparelli said: “It's gone well today and it's been good to have some running on new tyres after more than a year. There were a few red flags and a bit of traffic to contend with in the final session but I managed to get some quick laps in and the car felt good. Archie [Hamilton] has also been quick today and will obviously be a driver to watch this season but at the moment I'm just concentrating on finding my form.”