Canadian Devlin DeFrancesco finished the first day of FIA Formula 3 testing fastest after the end-of-day time attack for all was curtailed by a red flag caused by ART rookie Théo Pourchaire.
The Trident driver set a lap time of 1:46:844 just before the red flag flew at the Sakhir International Circuit in Bahrain as everyone got onto track in an attempt to climb the leaderboard.
He finished just 0.016s ahead of Australian Alex Peroni who was back in an F3 car for the first time since his huge crash at Monza that ended his 2019 season.
Macau Grand Prix winner Richard Verschoor started his and MP Motorsport’s test in fine style. He was 0.075s off the top time after his Dutch compatriot Bent Viscaal had topped the morning session.
ART were the only team to successfully have all three drivers in the top ten at the end of the day with Sebastián Fernández fourth, Pourchaire fifth, despite the late issues, and Aleksandr Smolyar seventh.
Viscaal was sixth in the afternoon with Lirim Zendeli (Trident), Igor Fraga and Niko Kari (both Charouz) completing the top ten.
Hitech GP had been the early front runners in the afternoon but they were unable to make substantial improvements when the time attack came late on and finished 12th, 14th and 16th with Liam Lawson, Max Fewtrell and Dennis Hauger.
Reigning champions PREMA and their all-new driver lineup had a quiet opening day as Logan Sargeant led the charge in 18th but F3 rookies Frederik Vesti and Oscar Piastri were 28th and 29th respectively.
There were only 29 runners in the afternoon as Jake Hughes didn’t get onto track, he also failed to set a lap in the morning session for HWA.
The test is a joint one between F2 and F3 with the more junior drivers setting laps just 4-5 seconds slower than the faster F2 cars on a fairly long lap by their standards.