Hitech Racing has declared itself happy with F3 rookie Walter Grubm?ller's maiden outing on the fast Snetterton circuit this week, as the young Austrian showed consistent improvement throughout the two-day test at the Norfolk track.

With Tuesday acting as an acclimatisation day to allow the 18-year-old to simply get to grips with his new team and the circuit, Wednesday saw the real business begin as the Formula Renault graduate lapped just four tenths of a second away from the benchmark in the morning session. Unfortunately the Buckingham-domiciled ace later suffered a spin in his Dallara F307 Mercedes HWA on the stroke of lunchtime, fracturing an oil line which subsequently cost him three hours' track time in the afternoon.

Thereafter the Silverstone-based outfit began the process of setting up the car ready for the following Zolder test, in preparation for the one-off BP Ultimate Masters in September. Grubm?ller's experienced Estonian team-mate Marko Asmer - who was a front-runner for Hitech in British F3 in 2005 and this year will be entering his fourth season in the category - was absent from the test due to clashing testing commitments in Japan.

Team owner David Hayle pronounced himself delighted with his young charge's progress so far, and is in confident mood ahead of the opening round of the British F3 International Series at Oulton Park on 9 April.

"Walter is on a steep learning curve as we know," he remarked, "and without Marko there to help him this test was never going to be easy. However he worked hard throughout the two days and his second day times were the result of his perseverance. To be just 0.4s off in one-and-a-half days was extremely good."

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