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General Formula 3

Frenchman Vergne tops Oulton Park F3 test

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Carlin Motorsport's French star, Jean-Eric Vergne topped the time sheets again during the official Cooper Tyres British Formula 3 International Series test at Oulton Park.

Vergne was one of a number of racers to duck below the official F3 lap record, set my Max Chilton during qualifying in 2008. Vergne's best time, a 1m27.444 was 1.4s better than the 2008 pole time.

The morning session saw the young Colombian Carlos Huertas top the times, just ahead of the Red Bull backed Vergne, while Huertas' team mate, young Japanese star Daisuke Nakajima finished with the third quickest time.

The afternoon session saw Vergne top the times; changing places with Huertas while Brazilian driver Adriano Buzaid moved into 3rd. Local driver to Oulton Park, Oliver Webb, set the fourth fastest time.

The final session of the day saw Vergne set the fastest time of the day, the time which set a new unofficial Formula 3 lap record, and ended the day 0.353s faster than Huertas, with Buzaid third fastest. The battle of the Brits saw Vergne's Carlin team mate, James Calado, came out on top against local star Webb.

In the National Class, Menasheh Idafar continued his impressive start to the testing season by topping the National Class times, on his first time at the 2.69 mile International Circuit, and by the end of the day's proceedings, finished 1.3s off the International Class pace, but was also 1.5s faster than the next National Class runner, T-Sport team mate James Cole. Idafar's pace saw him finish in the combined classification inside the overall top 10.

Speaking after the one day Oulton Park test, Idafar said: “I'm really pleased to have been in the top 10 overall today, our pace was good throughout the test which is obviously really good preparation for the first round of the season at Oulton, The cornering here is so much faster in an F3 car than in the Formula Renault I raced last year but I adapted to that without any problems. All in all it's been another great day.”

The next official Cooper Tyres British Formula 3 International Series test happens at Silverstone on the 23rd and 24th March, which includes the official Media Day on the 24th, the Wednesday. The season opener occurs at Oulton Park over the Easter Weekend, the 3rd and 5th April.

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