ROOKIE CALADO SETS PACE IN FIRST F3 TEST Today was the first day of term for the new and old boys of the Cooper Tires British F3 International Series as the pre-season testing ban came to a close and a field of 22 Dallara chassis tackled a damp...
ROOKIE CALADO SETS PACE IN FIRST F3 TEST
Today was the first day of term for the new and old boys of the Cooper Tires British F3 International Series as the pre-season testing ban came to a close and a field of 22 Dallara chassis tackled a damp and cold Snetterton to establish an early pecking order for the coming season.
And it was a new boy who emerged on top: 21-year-old James Calado (Pershore), the Racing Steps Foundation-backed driver who moves up to British F3 after success in junior formulae. Calado and his Volkswagen-powered Carlin car emerged quickest in the wet morning session by three-thousandths and went faster still in the drier afternoon conditions to end the day on top. "It's gone well," said James, "and I've learned a lot from today, which is the key thing."
Snetterton local Alex Brundle (Kings Lynn) ran Calado quickest in the morning on his first outing at the wheel of an International-class F3 car. Brundle enjoyed his debut for the T-Sport team: "Snetterton is home and of course it's one of my favourite tracks. It's been a good day and we've made a lot of progress."
Carlin, champions in 2008 with Jaime Alguersuari and 2009 courtesy Daniel Ricciardo, unveiled the latest addition to their driving strength today: Brazilian Adriano Buzaid, who was a race-winner last season with T-Sport. Buzaid ended his first day with his new team in fourth position; Carlin's other men - Jean-Eric Vergne, Rupert Svendsen-Cook and Jazeman Jaafar - all claimed top-11 positions.
T-Sport's National Class signing, Menasheh Idafar, put on a sterling show on his favourite circuit, romping to sixth-best time overall in the morning and ninth overall in the afternoon, just ahead of his new team-mate, reigning Formula Ford Champion James Cole.
Brazilian Gabriel Dias endured a tough start to his new career with Hitech Racing: braking problems led to a spin early on and damage to his chassis which kept him off the track for most of the day.
Teams spokesman Peter Briggs was delighted by the turn-out at Snetterton: "We have 50 per cent more cars at our first test this season than last, and that's a great and very encouraging result. It's fantastic also to see so many international drivers choosing British F3; the prospects are bright for a superb season."
There's further testing tomorrow (Thursday) at Snetterton ahead of a two-day session at Rockingham next week. The championship's opening rounds are at Oulton Park over the Easter weekend (3-5 Apr). British F3 is sponsored by US tyre manufacturer Cooper Tire and is further supported by Sunoco Racing Fuels, Anglo American Oil Company and Mirror.co.uk