Jakob Ebrey Photography

Championship leader Felipe Nasr showed his rivals the way around the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit in official testing today ahead of the weekend’s rounds of the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series.

The Brazilian Carlin driver was the only man to claim a sub-1m 18s lap, setting his best time in the morning’s dry session. Nasr’s 1m 17.847s was six-tenths inside Jaime Alguersuari’s official F3 lap record, but three-tenths shy of last year’s best qualifying lap of the 2.4-mile Kent track.

Carlin drivers filled the top six slots on the timesheet for the AM test, with Colombian Carlos Huertas running Nasr closest, two-tenths behind, and Racing Steps Foundation driver Jack Harvey an encouraging third fastest, and top British driver.

“The car was great in all conditions,” said Nasr, who added that he was content with 11th best time in the afternoon’s very wet session. “I love this circuit to drive and I am looking forward to the weekend. If I get a choice, I would prefer it to be dry for the races because I think maybe I have a bigger advantage in those conditions.”

His team-mate Harvey added: “The morning session was good; we had good pace and I used only one set of tyres to Felipe’s two. The afternoon timesheet is not really representative of my speed because I wasn’t out on track when it was at its driest. I think the weekend, if it continues like this, is going to be very unpredictable.”

Three Mercedes-powered runners made the top 10 overall, with Ulsterman Will Buller seventh for Fortec. Adderly Fong was an impressive 10th for Sino Vision Racing, a tenth of a second behind Double R’s Scott Pye.

The heavy rain made the afternoon Brands Hatch session heavy going, but there were few dramas. Hitech’s Pietro Fantin was a mid-session casualty, the Brazilian sliding into the gravel at the Druids hairpin, as did T-Sport’s Menasheh Idafar.

Huertas was the quickest man in the afternoon, with Pye second quickest from Lucas Foresti and Jazeman Jaafar. Russian racer Max Snegirev, who replaces Riki Christodoulou in the Hitech team this weekend, placed 17th and 16th in respective sessions.

Dutch driver Bart Hylkema was the leading Rookie class runner In both the wet and the dry tests for the T-Sport team.

Official qualifying is scheduled for 1045 BST Saturday, with the 30-minute 10th round of the championship at 1445. Sunday’s races – a 20-minute ‘semi-reverse’ grid sprint and the 40-minute feature race are due to get underway at 1035 and 1410 respectively.

British Formula 3 enjoys the headlining support of Cooper Tires and is additionally backed by Sunoco Racing Fuels, Anglo American Oil Company and OAMPS.

Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series
Official testing, Brands Hatch GP / 17/6/2011

Championship class
1  Felipe NASR / BRA,  Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen  1m 17.847s / 1m 31.741s
2  Carlos HUERTAS / COL,  Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen  1m 18.072s / 1m 28.747s
3  Jack HARVEY / GBR,  Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen  1m 18.410s / 1m 32.622s
4  Jazeman JAAFAR / MAS,  Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen  1m 18.423s / 1m 30.166s
5  Kevin MAGNUSSEN / DEN,  Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen  1m 18.484s / 1m 30.686s
6  Rupert SVENDSEN-COOK / GBR,  Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen  1m 18.501s / 1m 30.208s
7  William BULLER /GBR,  Fortec Dallara-Mercedes  1m 18.577s / 1m 33.513s
8  Pietro FANTIN / BRA,  Hitech Dallara-Volkswagen  1m 18.773s / 1m 30.881s
9  Scott PYE / AUS,  Double R Dallara-Mercedes  1m 18.821s / 1m 29.617s
10  Adderly FONG / CHN,  Sino Vision Dallara-Mercedes  1m 18.924s / 1m 31.356s etc

Rookie class
1  Bart HYLKEMA / NED,  T-Sport Dallara-Mugen Honda  1m 21.382s / 1m 35.142s
2  Kotaro SAKURAI / JPN,  Hitech Dallara-Mugen Honda  1m 25.438s / 1m 36.793s

Full TSL timesheets http://bit.ly/mFB3ya