Josh Hill led the final day of test running of the Protyre Formula Renault 2.0 Finals races at Snetterton.
Though the weekend has attracted more than 30 drivers representing 16 nations it was British drivers Hill, Jordan King and Oliver Rowland who often led the times after recently completing the Formula Renault UK season.
Hill who has switched to Fortec Motorsport after running the main championship under the Manor Competition banner was strong throughout the day of changing conditions was fastest in two of the three sessions, and set the best time of the day at 1:47.779. With fellow Fortec man Rowland third fastest overall only Russian Daniil Kyvat broke the domination of the British drivers, setting the second fastest time for successful European outfit Koiranen Bros Motorsport. The Red Bull backed driver, who finished fourth in last year's Winter Series, improved his times throughout the day after ending the opening session in 17th.
“It's been a good day,” said Hill. “We were looking quick in the first session but didn't get many laps in due to all the red flags. We ended quickest which was encouraging, and then carried that through to the next two sessions. I'm a little annoyed that we didn't get out on new tyres; I did the 1:47 on an old set. We went for new tyres but the final red flag fell just as I was out on my warm-up lap.”
“The field is really competitive, with Koiranen's squad and Kvyat, I've got a quick team-mate in Oli and Jordan King will certainly be very quick. I'm looking for my first pole and win this weekend.”
Times were limited by the conditions and several red flags that brought a premature end to several drivers fastest laps.
BARC Formula Renault runner-up Josh Webster ended the day fourth fastest on his Mark Burdett Motorsports debut, with Australian Geoff Uhrhane fifth after stepping up from the MSA Formula Ford championship.
The Formula Renault BARC class played host of a battle between Fortec's Archie Hamilton and MGR Motorsport man James Fletcher, the Formula Jedi series runner-up.
“I'm happy that we went really well today,” he said. “The car is going really well, I'd prefer a wet race weekend but I'm looking forward to whatever the weather. I don't know many of the other drivers as I've come from Formula Jedi, but I am looking to do the full Formula Renault season in 2012 and am looking for sponsors. A strong finish in the Finals Series should help.”
However, Fletcher ended the day nine-tenths down on the time set up BARC series regular Archie Hamilton – 1:54.014.
“We knew we were quick from the times we had from Wednesday and Thursday, we had the speed,” reflected Hamilton. “An incident in the first session meant it put me out for the remainder, in the second I had a brake issue and sat out the session. The brake issues were solved and in the last session I managed to get a few clear laps even with a lot of traffic out there.”
“It's quite tricky to manage the gap with the 2.0 cars when they're coming to pass without compromising your own lap. I'm confident of pole and a first win tomorrow but I know James will push me all the way.”
The Formula Renault drivers will take on two qualifying sessions and a total for four races during the weekend, split evenly between the Saturday and Sunday running.