Pace quickens at Oulton Park in final F3 tests

With the opening rounds of the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series just over a week away at Oulton Park, Carlin team-mates Jazeman Jaafar, Jack Harvey and Harry Tincknell scored an important psychological victory yesterday in the final pre-season test day.

Malaysian Jaafar set the best time of the morning session and the day as a whole, closely pursued by top Brit Harry Tincknell, with Jack Harvey just pipping Tincknell and Alex Lynn for honours in the generally slightly slower afternoon session.

The Cheshire circuit will be the venue on Easter Saturday (7 April) for what promise to be three action-filled races to get this year’s championship underway.

British Formula 3’s reputation as the ‘university of motorsport’ was enhanced last weekend at the Malaysian Grand Prix, where the 2007 British F3 National Champion, Sergio Perez, raced impressively to second place in his Sauber and 2010 British F3 Champion Jean-Eric Vergne claimed his maiden World Championship points in only his second race for Toro Rosso.

“A couple of years ago Sergio, Jean-Eric and our ’09 Champion Daniel Ricciardo were demonstrating their potential in British F3 at Oulton Park in front of the Easter crowds,” said Lisa Crampton, general manager of championship promoter SRO, “and now they are in Formula 1 and impressing the world. It’s clear that many of this year’s F3 field have the talent to follow their example.”

There are three young Britons in the field this season - Lincolnshire-based Harvey and Devonian Tincknell, both with champion team Carlin and both embarking on their second years in British F3; and Essex youngster Lynn, freshly arrived in F3 with the Fortec team after winning the 2011 Formula Renault UK title.

Today the three Englishmen had to give best to Jaafar, whose 1m 28.451s lap of the 2.7-mile Oulton Park International circuit was a quarter of a second ahead of the rest and just inside the official lap record. Tincknell ran Jaafar closest in the morning, with Harvey third from Carlos Sainz and Pietro Fantin.

Fantin severely damaged the rear end of his Volkswagen-powered Dallara after clouting the Old Hall crash barriers following a spin, and missed much of the morning session. It was Sainz’s turn to go off in the afternoon, the Spaniard able to complete only 10 laps as a result.

In the afternoon Harvey posted a best of 1m 28.945s, a tenth slower than he achieved in the morning, to top the session. “My fastest time of the afternoon was on old tyres,” he said. “I could have gone quicker on my new tyres, but I made a mistake.” Harvey was just six-thousandths clear of Tincknell, with Fortec driver Lynn third, only 0.036s behind.

“This morning’s session was definitely quicker than this afternoon’s,” said Alex, “but we were not concentrating on setting quick times at that stage and were concentrating on completing our test programme. This afternoon we went for it, and by the end there was nothing in it at all, so we’re very happy with where we are and confident for the race next week.”

Saturday admission tickets to see the three Oulton Park British Formula 3 races are £16 on the gate or £13 in advance from  Children under 13 go free.

Formula 3 on TV 2012

If you can’t make it to Oulton Park, the next best thing is watching the races in HD quality on your TV. The Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series announces today that all 10 of this year’s meetings will be screened in High Definition on Channel 4 in the UK.

Oulton Park’s races will go out on Channel 4 in a 30-minute highlights show on Saturday 14 April at 7am, with a mid-week repeat and online showings via 4oD. Most of this year’s meetings will occupy a weekend-after morning time slot on C4.

Satellite channel Motors TV will screen a 60-minute highlights show in the UK and across Europe on 14 April also, with regular repeats on a daily basis thereafter. The championship will gain exposure around the globe also thanks to deals with ESP Star channel in Asia and Speed Channel in South America.

All the action is being filmed by the seasoned pros of the UK’s leading motorsport TV production company, HayFisher.

Oulton Park timetableFri 6 Apr 0955-1050 free practice; 1415-1445 qualifyingSat 7 Apr 0955 Race 1 (30 mins); 1345 Race 2 (20 mins); 1700 Race 3 (40 mins)Ticket info

TV schedule Channel 4 UK 0700 14 April; Motors TV UK 14 April (time slot tba)

Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International SeriesOfficial test day 7 / Oulton Park, Cheshire / 28 March 2012

Leading International class runners am / pm (quickest time in bold)

1  Jazeman JAAFAR / MAS,  Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen  1:28.451 / 1:29.0662  Harry TINCKNELL / GBR,  Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen  1:28.707 / 1:28.9513  Jack HARVEY / GBR,  Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen  1:28.784 / 1:28.9454  Carlos SAINZ / ESP,  Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen  1:28.971 / 1:30.3175  Alex LYNN / GBR,  Fortec Dallara-Mercedes  1:29.510 / 1:28.9816  Pietro FANTIN / BRA,  Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen  1:29.205 / 1:29.4607  Hannes VAN ASSELDONK / NED,  Fortec Dallara-Mercedes  1:29.528 / 1:29.6578  Felix SERRALLES / PUR,  Fortec Dallara-Mercedes  1:30.376 / 1:29.4499  Fahmi ILYAS / MAS,  Double R Dallara-Mercedes  1:29.832 / 1:29.77310  Pipo DERANI / BRA,  Fortec Dallara-Mercedes  1:30.036 / 1:30.08811  Nick McBRIDE / AUS,  T-Sport Dallara-Nissan  1: 31.881 / 1:31.380

National class1  Spike GODDARD / AUS,  T-Sport Dallara-Mugen Honda  1: 34.783 / 1:30.5432  Duvashen PADAYACHEE / AUS,  Double R Dallara-Mugen Honda  1:34.293 / 1:33.592

Full TSL timesheets

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