FORMULA RENAULT TRIO ENJOYS ROCKINGHAM F3 TEST
Three promising young stars of the future enjoyed a taste of Formula 3 power today (Monday) at Rockingham - the specially organised Cooper Tires British F3 prize test session their reward for success in the Formula Renault UK Championship. Tom Blomqvist, Tama's Pa'l Kiss and Ollie Millroy were the men in the hot seat at the Northamptonshire speedway.
British F3 teams Litespeed F3 and Motul Team West-Tec provided the cars for the TSL Timing and Everitt Boles-backed event, with Formula Renault UK Champion Blomqvist sampling the Mercedes-powered International class Dallara prepared by Litespeed F3 and his colleagues going behind the wheel of a National class Dallara-Mugen Honda from Motul Team West-Tec.
Heavy rain and cold weather did little to dampen the youngsters' spirits after their prize test runs. "It was very wet and really slippery," said Blomqvist, the son of rally legend Stig. "Tough but fun sums up the day. I was lucky enough to have already had a run with Litespeed in the dry, at Silverstone, so I knew what to expect from the car at least." Essex-based Tom, who turns 17 at the end of the month, hopes to be on the 2011 British F3 grid but says "nothing is sorted yet." His best time of the day from the three sessions he completed was 1m 35.630s.
Twenty-year-old Millroy, who was sixth overall with the Fortec team in Formula Renault UK, lapped Rockingham in a best time of 1m 35.862s in the Motul Team West-Tec National class car. "It was a lot different to the Renault," said the Surrey driver, "and it took a while to get used to changing gear the 'old' way but, despite it being freezing cold and chucking it down, it was good fun and great experience." Millroy has previously tested one of West-Tec's Spanish championship cars, as well as a Fluid Motorsport-run British National car. Like Blomqvist, he hopes - budget permitting - to be in British F3 in 2011.
Nineteen-year-old Hungarian Tama's Pa'l Kiss endured some of the worst of the weather, in the afternoon, but nonetheless set a best lap time of 1m 35.749s. "It just got wetter and wetter," he said, "and it was very hard to see, and very windy. But all the same it was a very good prize for finishing third in Formula Renault UK and I enjoyed it very much."
The route from Formula Renault UK into British F3 and beyond is a well-trodden one over many seasons for a large number of talented drivers. James Calado and Oli Webb were both FRenault front-runners in 2009 and quickly established themselves as race winners in British F3 this season; Calado finished second in the championship and Webb third. And today another Formula Renault UK graduate, Menasheh Idafar, announced that he will follow up his 2010 Cooper Tires British F3 National class championship-winning campaign with an International class drive with T-Sport for 2011.
"It is fantastic to be able to reward these exciting young drivers from Formula Renault UK with a test drive in a British F3 car," said championship general manager Lisa Crampton. "Tom, Tama's and Ollie all deserved their chance and have, I know, gained from the experience. We hope very much that all three of them will be able to step up to the Cooper Tires British F3 International Series in 2011. The test went brilliantly well, and thanks are due not only to Litespeed F3, Motul Team West-Tec and Rockingham but also to Cooper Tires, TSL Timing and Everitt Boles for their support. SRO and British F3 look forward to the even bigger plans that are in the pipeline for official prize testing in 2011."
-source: british f3