Carlos Sainz bounced back from the disappointments he endured at Rockingham earlier this month with a virtuoso display on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit today in final free practice ahead of the weekend’s rounds of the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series.

Carlos Sainz Jr.
Carlos Sainz Jr.

Photo by: Stella-Maria Thomas

The 17-year-old Madrid-based Carlin driver topped both of the day’s test sessions, by a two-tenth margin this morning and an emphatic 0.47s this afternoon. Carlos lapped the 2.4-mile Kent circuit in a best time of 1m 17.257s, which is better than three-tenths inside last year’s pole position time.

Sainz lost the lead of the championship at Rockingham and will be seeking this weekend to narrow the 20-point gap between himself and the man who took over on top, his Malaysian team-mate Jazeman Jaafar, who was fifth quickest today.

It was another Carlin driver, Harry Tincknell, who ran Sainz closest. The Devon man - who won his first race of 2012 at Rockingham - was one of four men under the 1m 18s mark at Brands today, a fraction ahead of Jack Harvey and the leading Fortec Motorsport runner, Felix Serralles.

Carlin’s Pietro Fantin missed much of the first session after an off into a gravel trap; the Brazilian bounced back to set seventh-best time, a second off Sainz’s pace, in session two however.

Also in the wars was National class points leader Spike Goddard, who knocked a front wheel off his T-Sport Dallara towards the end of the second session as he tried to match the pace of class returnee Adderly Fong. CF Racing’s Chinese driver ended the day ahead of the Australian by six-tenths of a second.

Tomorrow’s official qualifying for British F3 is at 1115, with the first of the weekend’s three races at 1450.

Source: British F3