Topping two of the four half hour sessions, it was Callan O’Keeffe who ended Friday Testing as the man to beat at Brands Hatch in the BRDC British F3 Championship. The South African beat Chase Owen‘s benchmark from the previous day, with the American remaining strong in second.
With many of the regular drivers not appearing on Thursday, including championship contenders, Enaam Ahmed, closest rival Toby Sowery and Ben Hingeley, it was a golden chance for the Douglas Motorsport crew to use their extra days notes around the Indy layout.
O’Keeffe was the first of the sixteen drivers to lay down the marker in the morning, with a time of 43.401. The lap was over a tenth quicker than any other driver, though this proved to be the only the margin would be so large.
Owen topped the second session during the middle of the day, proving his pace from Thursday was no mere fluke. As the clock wound down, it once again looked as if Owen would be the man to beat come Saturday, though found himself knocked down by O’Keeffe during a glory run at the end of the day.
The Douglas drivers time of 43.324 was enough to top the day and the weekend so far. Behind them Hingeley, who topped practice three, was third, just 0.084 behind O’Keeffe.
Surprisingly though, neither Sowery or the Carlin‘s made a large impact, with James Pull, who was second place in the second session, managing fourth overall ahead of Sowery, who spent that time in the garage. Elsewhere, a strong run from Nicolai Kjaergaard saw him go sixth ahead of Cameron Das and Enaam Ahmed.
Ahmed currently leads the championship by 82 points, but other than a third place in the opening session, has failed to feature at the sharp end all day. Saturday will reveal whether his pace is genuine or has been holding back throughout the tests.
Rounding out the top ten would be the returning Krishnaraaj Mahadik and O’Keeffe’s teammate Jordan Cane, who will disappointed to be two tenths behind the leader. All drivers personal bests were within 0.7 seconds of each other.