The BRDC British F3 Championship launched with a bang at Donington Park, as Kush Maini topped the time sheets at the end of a very wet day of testing.
Maini, who joins the same Lanan Racing team that his brother finished runner-up in the 2014 BRDC F4 Championship with, had been threatening the top all day, eventually recording a 1min 24.523, which was over half a second ahead of the opposition.
Harry Webb had been the main man during the opening session, topping the classifications with a final lap in his Chris Dittmann Racing machine. He was CDR’s only driver today, though the team boss did not rule out a second driver before the start of the season.
The track was sparse with cars as drivers got a feel for the track, though Pavan Ravishankar ended it early with a crash into the pitwall on the opening lap.
Webb has not confirmed a contract with the team yet, though will see it as a natural step up from the F4 British Championship, where he was second in the Ford F4 Challenge Cup last year. The top three from the opening session all had no official contract, with Ginetta Junior rookie champion Tom Gamble the only driver within a second of Webb and himself over a second ahead of Clement Novalak.
After lunch, the cars were back in action with the track now notably drier. There was a change at the top as well, with the Carlin‘s finally showing their hand. Billy Monger temporarily topped the session before a red flag was called for Ben Hurst who was stuck in the gravel.
As the flag came out, it was Nicolai Kjaergaard on top, narrowly ahead of Novalak and Maini in the Lanan Racing machine.
The final session was a chance to let the drivers finally push the cars, with Maini setting the pace in the early stages. He’d pulled out a 0.7 second advantage over Linus Lundqvist by the halfway point, with the Lanan driver seemingly unchallenged.
Josef Owega made it two Hillspeed cars in the gravel in two session as the cars came in due to the red flag. A final lap sprint could not lift Maini from the top, with a late lap from Gamble putting him in front of Lundqvist.
Most drivers improved in the final session, with Novalak in fourth ahead of Session Two’s quickest man Kjaergaard. Narrowly behind him was Monger, just 0.930 seconds off the overall pace, as Tristan Charpentier and Krishnaraaj Mahadik rounded out the top eight.