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Practice-topper Carlos sends warning Sainz to British F3 field

Friday, June 22 2012

Carlos Sainz Jr headed the practice times ahead of this weekend's (23/24 June) Cooper Tires British F3 International Series round at Brands Hatch. The Red Bull-backed driver headed British team mate Harry Tincknell by nearly half a second, with championship challenger Jack Harvey third fastest.

The morning session was characterised by a damp but drying track as early rain subsided and a cool breeze both helped improve the surface and hindered the cars' delicate aerodynamic balance. Initially championship leaders Jazeman Jaafar, Sainz and Harvey took turns to head the times, with drivers able to significantly improve as the session wore on.

Once the track had dried it was Sainz who held the early advantage, with a couple of tenths in hand over Harvey. The Lincolnshire-based title challenger headed a trio of Britons, with Rockingham winner Tincknell third and Fortec's top runner, Alex Lynn, fourth. Championship leader Jaafar posted the fifth fastest time from Fortec's Felix Serralles and Pipo Derani, whilst Double R's Fahmi Ilyas bested T-Sport's Nick McBride as well as team mate Geoff Uhrhane.

In a drier second session, Harvey made an immediate impression, lapping well within 80 seconds, whilst the others built up speed. Sainz and Jaafar were the first to attempt a serious response and whilst they were unable to get within half a second of the Briton, Serralles and Tincknell demoted the Spaniard. The Puerto Rican in particular was enjoying a good run and got to within a couple of tenths of Harvey's time, which was still three tenths shy of the morning's best effort.

Sainz then picked up the pace to close the gap to just two hundredths of a second, before taking a quarter of a second off Harvey's time. The Briton then responded but was only able to get within three hundredths of a second of the Spaniard.

A big shunt for Spike Goddard meant that the session had to be halted for some time whilst his car was recovered and the cars returned to the circuit with just eight minutes remaining. This was enough for Sainz to take another six tenths off his earlier benchmark and whilst Tincknell improved to second, his time was nearly half a second adrift. With the Spaniard on top, the rest have been left with plenty of work to do before tomorrow's crucial qualifying session, which takes place at 11:15am.

Cooper Tires British F3 International Series Practice
1, Carlos Sainz Jr, ESP, Carlin, 1:17.257s
2, Harry Tincknell, GBR, Carlin, +0.470s
3, Jack Harvey, GBR, Carlin, +0.624s
4, Felix Serralles, PUR, Fortec, +0.654s
5, Jazeman Jaafar, MAS, Carlin, +0.745s
6, Alex Lynn, GBR, Fortec, +0.908s
7, Pietro Fantin, BRA, Carlin, +1.012s
8, Hannes Van Asseldonk, NED, Fortec, +1.358s
9, Fahmi Ilyas, MAS, Double R, +1.793s
10, Pipo Derani, BRA, Fortec, +1.893s

Tickets for the British F3/GT Championships at Brands Hatch on 23/24 June are available on the gate from £13, with free admission for children aged 12 and under. For more information call 0843 453 9000 or click here.