Malaysian driver Jazeman Jaafar topped the Friday time-sheets this afternoon, as the 2011 Cooper Tyres British F3 International Series prepares for Rounds 22-24 of the season at Rockingham.
Refreshed after a long summer break (though some runners, including Magnussen, Jaafar and Svendsen-Cook kept their feet wet competing in the RTL GP Masters of Formula 3 in early August), the field enjoyed satisfying test sessions under clear blue skies throughout the day. Jaafar was the man on form though, going quickest in the first and third of the Friday sessions, highlighting the Carlin driver’s pace.
“It's a great way to start the weekend,” said Jaafar. “We have worked hard to get the car where it is and now it is a question of getting my head down and maintaining the pace through qualifying tomorrow. I'm feeling goodâ€¦ quietly confident.”
Pietro Fantin also showed some impressive speed – his quickest time just a tenth shy of Jaafar’s, the Brazilian also led the field in the second session of the day, giving HiTech a confidence boost for the season’s latter stages. Carlin once again were a strong presence in the top 10, with Kevin Magnussen setting the third fastest time overall ahead of team-mates Rupert Svendsen-Cook, Carlos Huertas, Jack Harvey and Felipe Nasr respectively. Pipo Derani and Scott Pye were 8th and 9th fastest for Double R, whilst William Buller rounded out the top 10 for the Fortec team.
Kotaro Sakurai will also see his first Rookie Class rival since Bart Hylkema, in the form of Italian West-Tec driver Luca Orlandi. Sakurai was the fastest rookie runner overall, but Orlandi did beat the Japanese youngster in the second session of the day.
All eyes though, will be on championship leader Felipe Nasr, who can clinch the title if the Brazilian still leads by over 109 points by the end of Round 24 – with 6 rounds to spare and long before the season finale at Silverstone in October.
“The title is getting closer for me,” said Nasr, “and maybe it will come at Rockinghamâ€¦ It's a track I really like, and at which I have always been quick. I know it very well and it would be very special to win there and maybe take the championship.”
Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series
Official testing, Rockingham 2/9/2011
1 Jazeman JAAFAR / MAS, Carlin Dallara-VW 1:12.656 / 1:12.855 / 112.760
2 Pietro FANTIN / BRA, Hitech Dallara-VW 1:12.939 / 1:12.764 / 1:13.024
3 Kevin MAGNUSSEN / DEN, Carlin Dallara-VW 1:12.778 / 1:13.189 / 1:12.796
4 Rupert SVENDSEN-COOK / GBR, Carlin Dallara-VW 1:12.797 / 1:12.938 / 1:13.003
5 Carlos HUERTAS / COL, Carlin Dallara-VW 1:12.812 / 1:13.282 / 1:13.347
6 Jack HARVEY / GBR, Carlin Dallara-VW 1:12.990 / 1:13.582 / 1:13.082
7 Felipe NASR / BRA, Carlin Dallara-VW 1:13.140 / 1:12.994 / 1:13.363
8 Pipo DERANI / BRA, Double R Dallara-Mercedes 1:13.122 / 1:13.513 / 1:14.095
9 Scott PYE / AUS, Double R Dallara-Mercedes 1:13.238 / 1:13.155 / 1:13.468
10 William BULLER /GBR, Fortec Dallara-Mercedes 1:13.173 / 1:13.448 / 1:13.757 etc
1 Kotaro SAKURAI / JPN, Hitech Dallara-Mugen Honda 1:15.786 / 1:18.618 / 1:16.102
2 Luca ORLANDI / ITA, West-Tec Dallara-Mugen Honda 1:19.510 / 1:17.639 / 1:18.211
Full Timesheets http://bit.ly/qzf7t3
Qualifying Begins on Saturday 10:35 – 11:05 BST