Alan van der Merwe sets the pace for Formula 3 in 2003. Testing: Rockingham & Donington Park, March 11 & 13, 2003 Alan van der Merwe is setting a scorching pace in pre-season testing and he's demonstrating to his rivals, that he is one of the ...
Alan van der Merwe sets the pace for Formula 3 in 2003.
Testing: Rockingham & Donington Park, March 11 & 13, 2003
Alan van der Merwe is setting a scorching pace in pre-season testing and he's demonstrating to his rivals, that he is one of the favourites to win this year's British Formula Three Championship.
The South African has just completed the latest round of testing at the Donington Park circuit in Derbyshire. He set a best time of 1m 03.544s in his Dallara F303 Mugen Honda, 0.151 seconds faster than second-placed man Rob Austin.
With conditions overcast but dry, van der Merwe drove 81 laps of the 1.9-mile track without any problems and was well ahead of his Carlin Motorsport team mates. His pace at Donington Park is a clear indication he'll be challenging for victory at this circuit - the venue for the 2003 season opener - on April 6.
"We've been going very quickly," said van der Merwe after the latest test. "The team's very happy. There's no doubt, if we're consistent this year we can mount a challenge for the championship."
At the first FOTA test at Snetterton (March 4), Alan unofficially set the fastest time in damp conditions, last week at Donington Park and Rockingham Alan's pace in the dry was stunning.
At Rockingham, van der Merwe was the fastest driver in the morning session, completing 31 laps, but he was pipped in the afternoon by one of his Carlin team mates.
In the morning session at Donington Park, Alan was half a second faster than the second placed driver and in the afternoon he maintained his lead with 0.677 of a second.
Alan was also nearly 0.4 seconds faster than his young rookie team mate Jamie Green, and 0.8 seconds quicker than the fourth Carlin driver Ronnie Bremer.
Many people are expecting it to be a closely fought battle between the four Carlin team mates over the year, but Alan van der Merwe clearly has the upper hand at the moment.
Testing continues at the North Yorkshire circuit of Croft (March 18) and Snetterton in Norfolk (March 25).
<pre> Leading testing times from Donington Park Combined sessions.
Pos Driver (NAT) Chassis/Engine Time 1 Alan van der Merwe (RSA) Dallara F303 Mugen Honda 1m 03.544s 2 Rob Austin (GBR) Dallara F303 Opel Spiess 1m 03.695s 3 Will Davison (AUS) Dallara F303 Mugen Honda 1m 03.849s 4 Jamie Green (GBR) Dallara F303 Mugen Honda 1m 03.937s 5 Danny Watts (GBR) Dallara F303 Renault Sodemo 1m 03.971s 6 Richard Antinucci (USA) Dallara F303 Mugen Honda 1m 04.048s 7 Clivio Piccione (MON) Dallara F303 Mugen Honda 1m 04.298s 8 Ronnie Bremer (DEN) Dallara F303 Mugen Honda 1m 04.376s 9 Stefano Fabi (ITA) Dallara F303 Mugen Honda 1m 04.392s 10 Ernesto Viso (VEN) Dallara F301 Mugen Honda 1m 04.423s