Jakob Ebrey Photography

With the days ticking away to the start of the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series season, a 20-car field was in action today (Tuesday) at a damp Snetterton for the first of a two-day collective test session.

It was the first opportunity the Formula 3 boys had had to try the all-new Snetterton 300 circuit in their Mercedes and Volkswagen-engined Dallara chassis, and Danish driver Kevin Magnussen was among the quickest learners, topping the times in both the morning and afternoon sessions for the Carlin team.

Kevin, son of 1994 British Formula 3 Champion Jan, was five-hundredths clear of his closest rival, Hitech’s Pietro Fantin, in the morning with a 1m 40.771s lap, and then improved by six-tenths in the drier afternoon session to 1m 40.115s. His team-mates Carlos Huertas and Felipe Nasr ran him closest overall.

An excellent fourth fastest for the Mercedes-powered Double R team was young Brazilian Pipo Derani, who was 0.144s ahead of his team-mate, the Oulton Park testing pacesetter Scott Pye. Ipswich racer Rupert Svendsen-Cook was top Brit, in fifth, splitting the Double R men at his home track.

Damp-weather specialist Adderly Fong impressed for Sino Vision Racing with seventh overall, four places ahead of his team-mate Hywel Lloyd. Dutch driver Bart Hylkema (T-Sport) led his Rookie Class rival Kotaru Sakurai (Hitech) in both sessions.

Also on track today was Japanese F3 Championship hopeful Richard Bradley, who was gaining valuable testing experience with the Double R team.

Tomorrow’s Snetterton test will be the contenders’ final chance to hone their machinery ahead of the 16/17 April opening rounds of the championship at the Italian Grand Prix circuit of Monza. The pack will return to Snetterton in mid-May for what will be the first major meeting to use the new circuit layout.

Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series
Official testing, Snetterton 300 / 5 April 2011

Leading runners am / pm

1  Kevin MAGNUSSEN / DEN,  Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen  1m 40.771s / 1m 40.115s
2  Carlos HUERTAS / COL,  Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen  1m 40.879s / 1m 40.155s
3  Felipe NASR / BRA,  Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen  1m 41.964s / 1m 40.264s
4  Pipo DERANI / BRA,  Double R Dallara-Mercedes  1m 42.311s / 1m 40.395s
5  Rupert SVENDSEN-COOK / GBR,  Carlin Dallara-VW  1m 42.530s / 1m 40.437s
6  Scott PYE / AUS,  Double R Dallara-Mercedes  1m 41.885s / 1m 40.539s
7  Adderly FONG / CHN,  Sino Vision Dallara-Mercedes  1m 42.689s / 1m 40.694s
8  William BULLER /GBR,  Fortec Dallara-Mercedes  1m 42.442s / 1m 40.697s
9  Harry TINCKNELL / GBR,  Fortec Dallara-Mercedes  1m 42.067s / 1m 40.719s
10  Pietro FANTIN / BRA,  Hitech Dallara-Volkswagen  1m 40.825s / 1m 40.747s etc

Rookie Class
1  Bart HYLKEMA / NED,  T-Sport Dallara-Mugen Honda  1m 43.893s / 1m 42.626s
2  Kotaru SAKURAI / JAP,  Hitech Dallara-Mugen Honda  1m 44.494s / 1m 45.052s

Full timings from www.tsl-timing.com