The Raikkonen Robertson Racing pairing of Daisuke Nakajima and Carlos Huertas vaulted from midfield to set the pace on the second and final day of official testing for the Cooper Tires British F3 International Series at Snetterton.
With track conditions much improved during the afternoon, 21-year old Japanese driver Nakajima was able to get within four-hundredths of last July's pole position time for the Norfolk circuit, his Mercedes-powered Dallara setting a benchmark of 1min 02.109secs. Colombian team-mate Huertas posted the next quickest time, sitting just eight-thousandths of a second off the pace.
Carlin men Adriano Buzaid, Jean-Eric Vergne and say one pacesetter James Calado were third, fourth and fifth respectively, while Formula BMW graduate Jazeman Jaafar got to grips with the drier conditions on his first test at Snetterton. The 17-year old racer posted the third quickest time late on in the day but, as track conditions improved, the young Malaysian was pushed down the order, eventually finishing eighth overall.
Team-mates Buzaid, Vergne and Calado all traded places at the top of the timesheets as they made various set-up changes, before finishing the day inside the top five. The team's other Formula BMW graduate, Rupert Svendsen-Cook, also made good progress as he continued to get to grips with the Volkswagen-powered Dallara.
“I think we did a good job, we were consistently among the quickest over the two days, which shows we are moving in the right direction," Buzaid commented, "We did some really good development work and I think we have a good package to start the season. I'm looking forward to building on this progress at Rockingham next week.”
“I'm really pleased with the team's performance this week," race director Trevor Carlin added, "It was a great start to the year and I think all five drivers did a brilliant job. We did some good work on set-up and we'll continue our test programme next week at Rockingham, where hopefully we'll have a little more dry running!”
Building on a great performance at the Norfolk track yesterday, the National Class newcomer continued to underline his wet-weather pace this morning before lapping within just 0.9 seconds of the outright International Class times this afternoon in dry conditions.
The morning's damp-then-dry session saw Fortec's new signing Oli Webb emerge on top, but a wheel-damaging incident during the afternoon hampered the his subsequent pace and he wound up seventh overall, just behind the Hitech's William Buller. Felipe Nasr and reigning National Class champion Daniel McKenzie rounded out the top ten.
T-Sport pairing Menasheh Idafar and James Cole were again the class of the thin National field., ahead of Jordan Oakes and Craig Reiff. Having positioned himself well in the overall top ten for the majority of the morning, Menasheh and the T-Sport team went on to take full advantage of the late window for slicks, emerging a superb fourth overall.