Carlin pairing Lando Norris and Colton Herta topped the timesheets during a closely fought official MSA Formula test day at Donington Park.
Twelve cars took to the track for the third official test of the pre-season, with the eleven present at Snetterton on Monday joined by Team Pyro’s Ameya Vaidyanathan.
The sessions were the closest of the pre-season so far, with just over a second splitting the top ten at the end of the day.
Reigning World Karting champion Norris led the way in Leicestershire in the morning, a best lap of 1m 08.411s putting him a tenth of a second ahead of Ricky Collard, who was narrowly faster than his Arden team-mate Sandy Mitchell.
Fortec Motorsport’s Daniel Ticktum and JTR duo James Pull and Daniel Baybutt completed the top six, just 0.136s separating the trio, with Herta just ahead of his team-mate Petru Florescu behind them.
Vaidyanathan slotted into ninth on his and his team’s first official test so far, with Enaam Ahmed and the recently confirmed Rafael Martins behind them for Arden and SWB Motorsport respectively.
Josh Smith was bottom of the pile after a trying session, an off-track moment leading to an overheating engine that ruled him out of the rest of the day. That limited the Fortec runner to 32 laps overall, over a hundred less than some of his rivals.
The majority of the field improved their times in the afternoon running, with Herta knocking nine tenths off his morning best to lead the way at the end of the day with a fastest lap of 1m 08.070s.
Mitchell was only just 0.020s behind though, Norris and Ticktum in close proximity as well with 0.202s splitting the top four at the end of proceedings. JTR duo Pull and Baybutt could hardly be separated either, 0.003s between them as they finished up fifth and sixth.
Collard, the only driver in the top ten not to improve his time in the afternoon, finished up seventh, with Florescu, Martins and Ahmed completing a top ten split by 1.101s ahead of Vaidyanathan and the unfortunate Smith.
Best Morning Times: Norris 1:08.411, Collard 1:08.514, Mitchell 1:08.643, Ticktum 1:08.819, Pull 1:08.885, Baybutt 1:08.955
Best Afternoon Times: Herta 1:08.070, Mitchell 1:08.090, Norris 1:08.220, Ticktum 1:08.272, Pull 1:08.488, Baybutt 1:08.491
Full times from the test can be found by clicking here.