General Formula 3

Carlos Sainz Jr. Returns To The Top At Silverstone Test

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Carlos Sainz Jr. waits to take to the Silverstone circuit (Photo Credit: Chris Gurton Photography)

Carlos Sainz Jr. waits to take to the Silverstone circuit (Photo Credit: Chris Gurton Photography)

Carlin's latest Red Bully backed youngster Carlos Sainz Jr. continued his fine pre-season form, setting the fastest time in testing on the full Silverstone Grand Prix track.

Running at Snetterton and Rockingham the newest class of the British Formula Three drivers descended on Silverstone for more testing with new Dallara F312 chassis, as well as the championship's annual media day.

The morning was given over to a three hour test for the Formula Three field, Sainz Jr. setting the fastest time (1:53.193), just a fraction shy of the pole position time from the final round of the 2011 season.

The Spaniard was trailed by two tenths by Carlin teammate and F3 sophomore Harry Tincknell. Jack Harvey was third fastest, capping a 1-2-3 for the powerhouse team and their VW powered machines.

Tincknell concluded; “given that I had a problem with my gearbox downshift today and that historically Silverstone hasn't been my strongest circuit, I'm absolutely delighted with P2, and it bodes well for me.”

Formula Renault UK champion was the best of the non-Carlin drivers, fourth of Richard Dutton's Fortec Motorsport team, which had Hannes van Asseldonk fifth, inside of seven-tenths off Sainz's benchmark.

The day was far from perfect for the five car Carlin team, Brazilian Pietro Fantin struggling with his set-up problems, only able to claim the seventh best time while searching for a solution.

The day allowed T-Sport driver Nick McBride to clock more track time with the new ThreeBond Nissan engine, the Australian ending the day ninth fastest. On the other side of the T-Sport garage his countryman 'Spike' Goddard, easily set the better time of the two National Class runners present, 1.5 seconds faster than Double R Racing man Duvashen Padayachee (another Australian joining the series for 2012) who confessed to a “scary” moment when his right-rear wheel parted company with his Dallara F308 at high speed.

Testing at Silverstone continues tomorrow.

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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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