Image by Jakob Ebrey Photography

Carlos Huertas, who is bidding not only to maintain championship runner-up position in the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series this weekend but also to end his three-year championship stint on a high, topped the timesheets on the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit today in final testing ahead of the final races of 2011.

Crafty Colombian Carlos played the weather conditions perfectly, hustling his Volkswagen-powered Carlin Dallara around the 3.7-mile track in 1m 53.703s to set the best time of the day moments before a brief but heavy shower slowed the circuit. He was two-tenths ahead of his team-mate Felipe Nasr, the 2011 champion.

“The weather was kind to me,” said Carlos, “but the car feels good in the dry. It was useful to get some wet running also, and I am happy whatever the conditions are tomorrow. Today counts for nothing really, but I hope it is a good omen for my final F3 races.”

Nasr was quickest in the generally slower morning session, ahead of his Carlin comrades Kevin Magnussen, Jack Harvey and Jazeman Jaafar, with Malaysian Fahmi Ilyas the quickest Mercedes man in fifth spot, just ahead of Alexander Sims with the visiting Motopark team.

Kiwi Mitch Evans was fourth fastest in session two, behind Huertas, Nasr and Rupert Svendsen-Cook, following up on the strong form he showed last week in testing on his debut at the wheel of one of Double R’s Dallara-Mercedes. Evans was three-tenths up on his team-mate Scott Pye.

There were off-track excursions in the slippery first session for Ilyas and Hitech’s new Brazilian pilot Guilherme Silva, and for Max Snegirev in session two, but none of the incidents resulted in major damage.

Official qualifying is scheduled for 1125 on Saturday, with the first of the weekend’s races following at 1510. There are five drivers bidding for championship positions two and three this weekend – Huertas, Magnussen, William Buller, Svendsen-Cook and Jazeman Jaafar – and with the honour comes a valuable half-day test of a Renault World Series car in Spain.

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, Silverstone GP / 7/10/2011

Championship class
1  Carlos HUERTAS / COL,  Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen  1m 57.373s / 1m 53.703s
2  Felipe NASR / BRA,  Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen  1m 56.638s / 1m 53.922s
3  Rupert SVENDSEN-COOK / GBR,  Carlin Dallara-VW  1m 57.501s / 1m 54.388s
4  Mitch EVANS /NZL,  Double R Dallara-Mercedes  2m 00.516s / 1m 54.449s
5  Scott PYE / AUS,  Double R Dallara-Mercedes  2m 02.611s / 1m 54.578s
6  Jack HARVEY / GBR,  Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen  1m 56.843s / 1m 54.891s
7  William BULLER /GBR,  Fortec Dallara-Mercedes  1m 57.415s/ 1m 54.942s
8  Lucas FORESTI / BRA,  Fortec Dallara-Mercedes  1m 57.996s / 1m 55.061s
9  Kevin MAGNUSSEN / DEN,  Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen  1m 56.720s / 1m 55.085s
10  Pietro FANTIN / BRA,  Hitech Dallara-Volkswagen  2m 01.001s / 1m 55.112s
11  Jazeman JAAFAR / MAS,  Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen  1m 57.033s / 1m 55.125s
12  Alexander SIMS / GBR,  Motopark Dallara-Volkswagen  1m 57.349s / 1m 55.544s
13  Harry TINCKNELL / GBR,  Fortec Dallara-Mercedes  1m 58.803s / 1m 55.807s
14  Pipo DERANI / BRA,  Double R Dallara-Mercedes  2m 00.338s / 1m 55.874s
15  Hywel LLOYD / GBR,  Sino Vision Dallara-Mercedes  1m 59.527s / 1m 56.197s
16  Max SNEGIREV / RUS,  Hitech Dallara-Volkswagen  2m 02.877s / 1m 56.207s
17  Fahmi ILYAS / MAS,  Fortec Dallara-Mercedes  1m 57.290s / 1m 56.637s
18  Menasheh IDAFAR / GBR,  T-Sport Dallara-Volkswagen  1m 59.200s / 1m 56.756s
19  Yann CUNHA / BRA,  T-Sport Dallara-Volkswagen  1m 59.821s / 1m 56.856s
20  Adderly FONG / CHN,  Sino Vision Dallara-Mercedes  1m 58.457s / 1m 57.087s
21  Bart HYLKEMA / NED,  T-Sport Volkswagen  2m 01.029s / 1m 57.586s

Invitation class
1  Guilherme SILVA / BRA,  Hitech Dallara-Volkswagen  2m 00.966s / 1m 57.367s

Rookie class
1  Kotaro SAKURAI / JPN,  Hitech Dallara-Mugen Honda  2m 03.097s / 1m 59.779s