Kevin Magnussen set the fastest time on a damp first day of the final 2011 British Formula 3 pre-season test at the newly designed Snetterton 300 circuit in Norfolk.

The new track layout brought with it the challenge of learning the track’s nuances for the first time, and Magnussen – son of 1994 British F3 champion Jan Magnussen got to grips with the track early on. The Carlin driver – like the rest of the top 10 – set his quickest time of 1:40.115s in the afternoon, merely 4 hundredths ahead of team-mate Carlos Huertas.

Felipe Nasr helped Carlin and VW-powered Dallaras secure the top 3. Pipo Derani found 2 more seconds out on track during the afternoon, helping Double R into 4th while team-mate and current Formula Ford champion Scott Pye set the 6th fastest time. In 5th was Rupert Svendsen-Cook, the highest British driver in the field.

After signing to race the entire 2011 British F3 season, Adderly Fong was impressive in the damp and tricky conditions, the Sino Vision driver comfortably in the top 10, 4 places ahead of Welsh team-mate Hywel Lloyd.

In the rookie class, Dutchman Bart Hylkema topped the time-sheets for T-Sport, a whole 2 seconds ahead of HiTech’s Kotaru Sakurai in 2nd. Richard Bradley also made an appearance, the British driver had signed with TOMS for the 2011 Japanese Formula 3 championship and was in attendance to with the Double R team, if only to keep his eye in.

The second day of the Snetterton test will also be the final chance for the teams and drivers to prepare themselves before the season starts at the prestigious Monza circuit in Italy on 16-17 April. The F3 circus will return to Snetterton in mid-May for what will be the first major series to race on the new layout.

Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series
Official testing, Snetterton 300 / 5 April 2011

Leading runners am / pm

1  Kevin MAGNUSSEN / DEN,  Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen  1m 40.771s / 1m 40.115s
2  Carlos HUERTAS / COL,  Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen  1m 40.879s / 1m 40.155s
3  Felipe NASR / BRA,  Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen  1m 41.964s / 1m 40.264s
4  Pipo DERANI / BRA,  Double R Dallara-Mercedes  1m 42.311s / 1m 40.395s
5  Rupert SVENDSEN-COOK / GBR,  Carlin Dallara-VW  1m 42.530s / 1m 40.437s
6  Scott PYE / AUS,  Double R Dallara-Mercedes  1m 41.885s / 1m 40.539s
7  Adderly FONG / CHN,  Sino Vision Dallara-Mercedes  1m 42.689s / 1m 40.694s
8  William BULLER /GBR,  Fortec Dallara-Mercedes  1m 42.442s / 1m 40.697s
9  Harry TINCKNELL / GBR,  Fortec Dallara-Mercedes  1m 42.067s / 1m 40.719s
10  Pietro FANTIN / BRA,  Hitech Dallara-Volkswagen  1m 40.825s / 1m 40.747s etc

Rookie Class
1  Bart HYLKEMA / NED,  T-Sport Dallara-Mugen Honda  1m 43.893s / 1m 42.626s
2  Kotaru SAKURAI / JAP,  Hitech Dallara-Mugen Honda  1m 44.494s / 1m 45.052s

Full timings can be found and followed here: http://www.tsl-timing.com/?loc=major&season=2011&series=BF3GT&event=testing&source=bf3gt2006&eventid=111417