General Formula 3Open Wheel

James Calado Paces F3 Thruxton Test

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James Calado led the British Formula Three test sessions at Thruxton, in build-up to the series' races at the Hampshire speed-drome.

The Carlin driver set the fastest lap of 1:06.840 in his Dallara/Volkswagen, just a single hundredth outside of the Thruxton lap record and four hundredths faster than his Carlin teammate Lucas Foresti who ran the second fastest time of the day.

Championship leader – and another Carlin driver – Jean-Eric Vergne was fourth fastest on the day (behind Carlos Huertas) the French driver's lap of 1:07.067 just faster than Oli Webb (1:07.087) – his only challenger for the title, though after recording a DNF in the previous round at Spa-Francorchamps Webb needs a good haul of points from Thruxton, and some luck, if he is to stop Vergne increasing his hold on the title.

The drizzly, damp track made for difficult conditions for some of the young drivers, many of whom had never driven round the track before.

One of the main casualties was Rockingham winner Felipe Nasr who span his Raikkonen-Robertson Dallara into the wall at the Club chicane at the end of the lap, damaging the rear of his car and ending the testing 17th fastest, 1.5 seconds down on Calado.

Menasheh Idafar set the best time among the National Class runners, his best time of 1:08.195 comfortably faster than his T-Sport teammate James Cole (1:08.668).

The three races over the Thruxton weekend could be crucial in deciding the destination of the class title, both driver equal on points after the Spa weekend where Idafar won two races to Cole's one.

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James is our Diet-Coke fuelled writer and has been with TCF pretty much since day 1, he can be found frequenting twitter at @_JBroomhead
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