Hitech Racing posted the second quickest time in testing at Rockingham on Thursday, with 16 year-old Max Chilton just two tenths of a second off the quickest lap around the Northamptonshire track. His team-mate Austrian Walter Grubmüller was eighth quickest in the afternoon session but in the combined times dropped to just outside the top ten but still ahead of his more experienced rivals.
For the current British Formula 3 International Series champions, Thursday’s test at Rockingham again proved invaluable with the Buckingham-based outfit continuing its ongoing development of the new Dallara F308 Mercedes HWA. For Grubmüller, who has been undergoing most of the work including two days at Pembrey, the test provided useful information ahead of the next rounds.
“We’ve spent much of the last few days trying out a load of development bits for the car and I’m fairly happy with how things have gone. We spent time developing bits at Pembrey and learnt a lot which continued into Thursday at Rockingham. We’re making improvements all the time so we’re going in the right direction and it looks good ahead of Croft next weekend.”
The opening rounds of the series at Oulton Park last month had 19 year-old Grubmüller immediately on the pace, posting the third quickest time in both sessions. Reigate-based Chilton went on to pick up the team’s first podium of the season with second place in the opening race.
“Things weren’t going too well on Thursday morning and I was feeling a bit down, said Max. “But then we bolted on some development bits and straight away I went five tenths quicker. Then we put some new tyres on and went for it and shot up to P2. On my hot lap I lost a couple of tenths at the hairpin due to oversteer, without that I’m fairly certain I could have been quickest. I’m feeling fairly happy heading into the next rounds now.”
Team Principal David Hayle was equally happy with performance of both of his drivers, “Both Walter and Max have done a fantastic job in helping us to develop the new car. Walter had two good days at Pembrey this week and carried everything we’ve learnt into the test at Rockingham. They were carrying out two very different programmes, including some aerodynamic work and we’ve learnt a lot and found some very interesting things. All of this bodes well for Croft.”
Now the team is looking ahead to the final test prior to the next two races at Croft in North Yorkshire. A final test at the track on Friday will give it some last minute data prior to qualifying on Saturday.
Top testing times from Rockingham
1. Marcus Ericsson Fortec Motorsport 1:11.799
2. Max Chilton Hitech Racing 1:12.001
3. Jaime Alguersuari Carlin Motorsport 1:12.095
4. Sergio Perez T-Sport 1:12.144
5. Nick Tandy JTR Marshall Westland 1:12.215
6. Michael Devaney Ultimate Motorsport 1:12.249
7. John Martin Raikkonen Robertson Racing 1:12.263
8. Sam Abay Carlin Motorsport 1:12.307
9. Esteban Guerrieri Ultimate Motorsport 1:12.329
10. Sebastian Hohenthal Fortec Motorsport 1:12.362
11. Walter Grubmüller Hitech Racing 1:12.503