Michelin Formula Renault UK Champion Tom Blomqvist (Saffron Walden), third-place finisher Tama’s Pa’l Kiss (Hungary) and front-runner Ollie Millroy (Claygate) each took to the cockpit of the F3 machine as a reward for their performance in the 2010 Renault Sport single-seater series. Vice Champion Lewis Williamson (Golspie) had been scheduled to test but was unable to attend leaving 20-year-old Millroy to take his seat as the next highest placed driver who was available.
In the pouring rain and with temperatures dropping as low as 4°C, the three were gifted a clear 1.94-mile track in which to complete their prize test which was a first for the series and had been arranged thanks to negotiations between Renault Sport Technologies and British F3 promoter SRO.
Blomqvist, who made history earlier this year by becoming the youngest ever winner of the championship at just 16, tested an International Class car running with Litespeed F3 posting a best time of 1min 35.630s (73.03mph average) in the third and final of his allotted sessions.
JoiningBlomqvist in the morning stint was Millroy, who finished sixth in the series with Manor Competition, testing a National Class car with Motul Team West-tec and securing a best time of 1 min 35.862s (72.85mph average) – just 0.232s off Tom’s pace.
Meanwhile in the afternoon session, with the rain still beating down, Pa’l Kiss took to the track also running with Motul Team West-tec in the National Class car. The 19-year-old completed his three sessions with a best time of 1min 35.749s (72.94mph average) to finish just a fraction off Blomqvist’s pace.
Blomqvist, who also enjoyed a prize test in a Formula Renault 3.5 World Series car earlier this year, commented: “The day went well despite the atrocious weather conditions which at times felt like you were driving on ice. It was also my first time in the wet in an F3 car but overall it went well and I came away feeling confident.”
Commenting after his time in the car Pa’l Kiss said: “The conditions were really tricky out there and as such I had to adapt my driving style. Being the only car out on track too meant the water wasn’t being lifted off the racing line leaving the car to aquaplane at times. Towards the end of the final session though I managed to improve my lap times and to finish in the 1min 35s was a good result.”
Millroy, speaking after his test, added: “The test went really well considering the conditions and I really enjoyed it. To come within two tenths of Tom’s pace despite him being in an International Class car is really encouraging for me and it was great to have the opportunity to test the F3 car.”