Alan van der Merwe heads in to his second season of British Formula Three with the speed, talent, car and team to take the championship title - all he has to do now is put them together at the right time.

As in 2002, the South African will be racing with former championship winning team, Carlin Motorsport, which van der Merwe believes has the experience to support him during his title attack.

"I'm definitely looking for race victories this year, and will be out to get them from the first round at Donington," he said, "The competition is strong this year and anything can happen. There are so many unknown quantities out there this year that consistent results and a level-headed approach will win the championship for me."

After winning at Castle Combe in 2002, van der Merwe subsequently suffered with mechanical problems and unreliability, but closed the season in a respectable eighth place in the final standings.

"I gained a great deal in confidence and improved on car set-up towards the end of last season," he revealed, "but I was ill-fated with four retirements in a row which lost a great deal of points. Last season was still a success, however, as we achieved what we set out to do and more - but now I am concentrating on 2003 and am really pleased to be at the top of the times during testing so far."

The South African has proved his ability as a pacesetter in pre-season testing, heading the times in his Dallara-Mugen ahead of his team-mates and the competition.

"Carlin has such a strong driver line-up, which will be of benefit to us all and most certainly put us at the front of the grid," he said, "I know Ronnie Bremer well, which is a good thing as we will push each other hard and perhaps learn from each other - I believe it is important to have strong team-mates. I'm already focused ahead of the season start having had positive testing already with Trevor [Carlin] and the team."

the former FFord Festival winner will most certainly be a front-runner in 2003 having spent his rookie year working hard to learn the circuits, his car and his team. This experience and knowledge will be a great benefit in what is shaping up to be one of the most competitive British F3 seasons of all.

"I know all the tracks really well and I know the team," he continued, "Formula Three is really tough, and a good mixture of driver ability, car set-up, teamwork and experience is essential. Experience will be very important for me this year, and will give me the confidence and results I am looking for. There are so many people with good reputations, winning will be left to those who can handle the pressure - and that's going to be me."

The British F3 Championship starts on 6 April at Donington Park.