Will Davison in line for Renault F3 selection in 2004
Aussie quickest in first test for Renault-backed HiTech squad
Australian International Will Davison has placed himself squarely in line for inclusion in the Renault Driver Development Program (RDDP) that could take him all the way to Formula 1 by totally dominating a two day test at Oulton Park and Snetterton in England.
Testing for the Renault-supported HiTech F3 Team, Davison topped the time sheets in virtually every session over the two days against the cream of this year's British and European Championship contenders, including the sons of past World Champions, Nelson Piquet Jnr and Nico Rosberg.
"We dominated every session on each day," said Davison. "Anyone who is anyone in F3 was at the test and we were on top of them all.
"HiTech are very, very keen to make something happen for 2004. Either way, I could not have done anymore on the two test days. I put everything I have learnt during the year into the days and it all came together perfectly.
"You don't always have days where everything goes right but these were two of them. I out-did their expectations, they said that I did exactly what they hoped for and couldn't have asked for anymore. That's all I can do at this stage!
"Overall, the two days were hugely constructive. I'm at that point of the year where my confidence is up and I'm starting to really know what I need to do with these cars. I feel sure in myself and I feel like I am on top of my game and ready to win.
"It's good to be able to prove a point. Even after the last round at Brands Hatch, where I raised my game, I've taken another step up again."
Since winning in dominating style at Croft in May for Alan Docking Racing, the team suffered an inexplicable slump in form, with the only consoling factor for Davison being that he consistently out-qualified and out-raced his highly rated Red Bull-backed team-mates.
In an effort to salvage something from the season and potentially his entire European career, Davison made the difficult decision to leave ADR and join Menu Motorsport for the final championship rounds.
With an immense amount of pressure on his shoulders, Davison immediately made his point by finishing an unlucky fourth at Donington, (he was passed in the final laps by two slick-shod cars on a drying track) and second at the final event of the season at Brands Hatch.
HiTech's two Renault-backed drivers in 2003, Danny Watts and Eric Salignon, have both recently been dropped from the program, leaving the opportunity open for Davison to be included for 2004.
HiTech principal David Hayle, who approached Davison's management following his immediate return to form after join the Menu team, made it clear that he had been watching Davison since his arrival in the UK at the beginning of 2002 and rated him far more highly than his overall season's result reflected.
A successful test with his team at the conclusion of the season would guarantee a recommendation from Hayle to Renault for inclusion in their Driver Development Program for 2004, which could lead to a fully-funded season in British Formula 3 next season.
At the conclusion of the two days, Hayle, together with partner Bruce Jenkins, who engineered Paul Stewart Racing and drivers including David Coulthard, Gil de Ferran and Jan Magnussen to multiple British F3 Championships during the 1990s, proclaimed that Davison had performed beyond what they had expected and that they would be making the recommendation to Renault for his inclusion in the program.
The RDDP is designed to find, support and develop young drivers of exceptional talent with the aim of a future position with Renault in Formula One.
Davison will remain in England as his 2004 program continues to take shape before returning to Australia for Christmas and a summer break with friends and family.