The start of day three was also delayed by thick fog. and the green flag didn't come out until 12.30, leaving the drivers to run a single five-and-a-half hour session, which saw Brendon Hartley back on track, having been confirmed at Tech 1 alongside Daniel Ricciardo for next season. Despite the Australian's deal, however, he spent the day testing with the KMP Group / SG Formula team, while Merhi switched to Prema Powerteam, Daniil Move took a seat with Comtec Racing and Albert Costa made his WSbR debut with Epsilon Euskadi.
Visibility conditions continued to be a handicap, but GP2 refugee Nelson Panciatici took advantage of the conditions to make an early impact for Pons Racing, although the first really significant lap times were a while coming.
As soon as he took to the track, Vergne upped the pace, briefly taking control of the session with a time of 1min 44.170secs, before Federico Leo (Pons) and Salaquarda responded and moved to the top. After lapping in 1min 43.426secs, the Czech driver topped the pile for a long periodwhile Lancaster, back with Comtec, Leo and Kunimoto, now with Epsilon Euskadi, slotting in behind.
As the last hour approached, drivers began donning new rubber, and Panciatici was again the first to go on a charge, moving up to seventh place. Vergne and Leo followed suit, the Frenchman moving into fourth while Leìo remained third, despite improving his time.
When Vergne returned to the track with a new set of tyres, he shot to the top of the standings with a lap of 1min 43.186secs that beat his own record from the day before. Kunimoto also went on a charge, grabbing the fourth fastest time, but other final attempts didn't change the pecking order, leaving Vergne in first place, ahead of Salaquarda and Lancaster.
“I put in a good time in the early afternoon, with worn tyres, while the track was at its most effective, but that's when I should have fitted new tyres," Vergne revealed, before discussing his options for 2010, "It's the management of Red Bull Junior Team who will decide on my programme for 2010, and maybe these three days of testing will be important in the balance.”
In a twist, however, the Frenchman's two best laps were later cancelled for overtaking under a yellow flag, allowing Salaquarda to inherit top spot, ahead of Lancaster and Kunimoto, although Vergne still retained the the best performance of the week.
“We reached a good level of performance today," Salaquarda reported, "I drove my fastest time at the beginning of the afternoon, and after that we worked on a race simulation. This is very positive for next year. We are building up a new team from RC Motorsport, so I'll be here again next season.”
The test had opened with the top three drivers from the FRenault Eurocup, together with the winners of the different national championships, being invited for a day's running. The winners of British, Spanish, Italian and Japanese F3 championships were also invited, and it was Kevin Magnussen - son of sportscar ace Jan - who produced the best performance of the day.
“The first time you press the accelerator, you say to yourself ' okay, this is another world!'," the Dane revealed, "Everything is more effective – the braking, acceleration, road holding, grip... You need time to get used to it, but I felt comfortable pretty quickly. We've done some very good work with Pons Racing, so it was a very good day.”