British F3

The Cooper Tires British Formula 3 title fight intensified at Donington Park today in testing ahead of the weekend’s final rounds of the championship, with the leading trio in the points table separated at the top of the timesheets by just 0.147s.

Jack Harvey ran out the quickest in the weather-hit Donington test, nine-hundredths quicker than his Carlin team-mate and championship leader Jazeman Jaafar, with Fortec’s Felix Serralles five-hundredths further back. Harvey’s time of 1m 23.156s was a tenth shy of that he achieved in better weather at Donington two weeks ago.

It’s been a good couple of days for Lincolnshire driver Harvey and his title aspirations. Yesterday an MSA judicial review of his Silverstone second-race time penalty found in his favour, restoring Jack to a finishing position of second in that race. With that decision came the return of 14 championship points.

Jaafar still leads the championship heading for the weekend’s showdown races, the Malaysian three points ahead of Puerto Rican Serralles, with Harvey still third overall but now only six points off the top.

Harvey set his best time in this morning’s damp-but-drying session; his hopes of improving in the afternoon were dashed by a stoppage while the crashed car of Pipo Derani was retrieved from the track, which delay was followed immediately by a heavy shower. Serralles was the only one of the three title hopefuls to improve his time before the rains came.

Derani had just bettered his time to go third in the afternoon session (and sixth overall) when the Brazilian went off, sliding into a tyre wall and deranging his Dallara’s suspension. Pipo was unhurt in the incident.

The top five for the day was completed by Brazil’s Pietro Fantin (Carlin) and Essex driver Alex Lynn (Fortec). Lynn was the quickest on the damp circuit at the end of session two following the shower, posting a time of 1m 35.932s.

Hywel Lloyd enjoyed a successful return to the cockpit in his CF Racing National class Dallara, ending his test day four-hundredths ahead of T-Sport man Spike Goddard.

Official qualifying at Donington is scheduled for 1220 Saturday, with the first of the weekend’s three races following at 1640.