British F3

Rising star Jaafar quickest in Silverstone pre-race tests

Jazeman Jaafar underlined his intentions for the coming weekend of Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series action at Silverstone today by dominating the free practice sessions at the British Grand Prix circuit.

The 19-year-old Malaysian – who was yesterday nominated by the British Racing Drivers Club as its first-ever Asian ‘Rising Star’ – topped the timesheets in both morning and afternoon sessions. His morning time of 1m 53.787s was the quickest of the day by a quarter of a second; the Volkswagen-powered Carlin driver was the only man to break the 1m 54s barrier around the 3.7-mile track.

Jaafar was quickest again in the hotter and generally slower afternoon session, this time by 0.179s. “I’m pleased,” said Jazeman. “The last two meetings of the year are crucial for me. I need to start strong and finish strong to make up the points I lost earlier in the year. This is a good start to the weekend and I am happy with the car.”

Jaafar said he was delighted by his BRDC honour: “To be the first Asian to be a part of it makes me proud.”

Jaafar’s team-mate Carlos Sainz Junior ran him closest in the morning, and in the afternoon it was another Carlin man, championship leader Jack Harvey, who led the pursuit. Harvey, Fortec’s Felix Serralles and Jaafar are the leaders in the title fight with six races remaining, and are separated by 20 points.

Harvey was the only driver to improve in the afternoon, the Racing Steps Foundation-backed teenager from Lincolnshire finding a tenth of a second. Serralles, who lost track time in the morning through an off-track excursion caused by a broken rear wing strut, ended his day eighth overall, behind his team-mates Alex Lynn and Pipo Derani.

Championship returnee Rupert Svendsen-Cook was third fastest overall and the leading Mercedes runner on his competitive debut with the Double R team.

Harry Tincknell was another to suffer mechanical problems, the Carlin man running strongly in session one until a brake issue halted him out on track.

In the National class, Double R’s Duvashen Padayachee was quickest when it counted in session one, with class points leader Spike Goddard (T-Sport) recovering well from a late first-session off to lead the way in the afternoon.

Saturday’s British F3 qualifying is scheduled for 1040 and the first of the weekend’s races due off at 1515.