Rising American star Paul Edwards completed his schedule of pre-season testing for the 2001 Green Flag British F3 Championship by leading an official test day for the first time and firmly planting himself in the front rank of this year's crop of...
Rising American star Paul Edwards completed his schedule of pre-season testing for the 2001 Green Flag British F3 Championship by leading an official test day for the first time and firmly planting himself in the front rank of this year's crop of F3 rookies. The world's premier F3 series kicks off at Silverstone this weekend.
At a rainy Silverstone on Monday, the 22-year-old Californian piloted his Alan Docking Racing Dallara-Mugen Honda to the top of the time sheets in the first session, and maintained his form in the afternoon until missing out on the final drying laps of the last session. Two weeks previously at Oulton Park, Edwards outran his teammate, F3 veteran Andy Priaulx, for the first time, and has since closely matched the British driver's times.
Commenting on his steadily improving pace, Edwards said, "It's taken awhile to learn how to get the best out of the tyres in all conditions, but I think I've cracked it in time for the first race. As far as I'm concerned, I'm on track to qualify and run in the top six from the beginning of the season, and then work up to battling for wins by mid-season."
Off-season pacesetters Carlin Motorsport start as title favourites with 2000 runner-up Takuma Sato of Japan and Formula Ford Festival winner Anthony Davidson. Hot on their heels for much of the winter have been the Prost Junior Team of the returning Nicolas Kiesa and rookie Ryan Dalziel. Edwards said, "We have a way to go on development to catch Carlin and Prost, but we've already shown we're a match for top teams like Jaguar, Manor, and Fortec."
Edwards' testing performances have also established him as the quickest of a trio of Americans contesting this year's British F3 crown. New York teenager Jeffrey Jones will drive for 2000 champions Manor Motorsport, while Alex Gurney - son of US racing legend Dan - lines up for the experienced Fortec squad.
"I'm well pumped up for the start of the season," Edwards said. "So is my sponsor Doug Mockett & Company [a US supplier of premium architectural hardware and fixtures]. The team is working really hard and the atmosphere is great. I'm looking for some good results early on to help me find the extra sponsorship we need to stay at the front."