As has become expected, Team West-Tec proved to a thorn in the side of the Spanish F3 teams as the national championship took to the streets of Valencia to christen the city's new Formula One circuit.

Despite Friday's free practice session being severely restricted as finishing touches were still being applied to the circuit, all four West-Tec drivers showed well when the first session of unrestricted running finally got underway on Saturday, with 'Lightning' Jonathan Legris and Thor-Christian Ebbesvik leading the way.

Despite not finding the much older F300 as suited to the track as expected, Legris was disappointed to line up ninth after qualifying, although the result still left him comfortably the fastest of the three British drivers in the field.

A good start, however, provided the platform for the FBMW graduate to move up the order throughout the race, eventually coming to rest in a fine fifth place overall, which secured third place in the Copa de Espana class for the F306/F300 model Dallaras and maintained West-Tec's record of scoring at least one podium in every Spanish F3 weekend that it has ever taken part in.

"Jonathan was stunning again - in fact, the team are starting to become immune to realising just how significant his achievements are in the F300!" team principal Gavin Wills enthused.

The finish also put Legris on the front row for the second race of the weekend and the Briton responded well, leading for a short while on the opening lap before settling in to a steady third overall. What wasn't apparent, however, was that he was already suffering with gearbox maladies and a misfire.

After dropping down to sixth place over the next few laps, Legris was eventually forced to retire to the pits as the misfire worsened. The team quickly traced the problem to an ignition coil but, by then, it was all too late. What was particularly galling was the coil was brand new on Friday as the team routinely replaced a lifed component...

"The first race was great, and to finish on the podium here was a special experience," Legris said, "Race two was obviously more disappointing, but I am sure we will be on the pace when we return."

Despite the retirement, the youngster maintains a competitive position in the overall championship standings, just 14 points off the outright lead, despite competing in a car six and eight years older than many of his rivals'.

Ebbesvik could and should have gone better than his team-mate as, after some development work on the team's Dallara F308, he was back to being able to show his true form, taking a superb third place on the 29-car grid even though both of his best laps were ruined by red flags.

A good start then saw TCE move up to second and attempt to pass Jaime Alguersuari for the lead, only to be delayed by one of the Tec-Auto cars, which massively outbraked the leaders and then, unsurprisingly, overshot the corner wildly. After the safety car period, Alguersuari and Ebbesvik pulled away from the field, with Ebbesvik threatening to find a way past the highly-rated Spanish driver.

Unfortunately, pushing just a little bit too hard meant that, on lap eleven, he clipped a kerb and spun, rejoining down in twelfth, albeit without major damage. On the charge to regain some positions, and after passing several cars, however, the Norwegian spun again, this time severely damaging both his front and rear wings.

Although he was still able maintain enough pace to finish 13th, it meant a lowly starting position for race two, but Ebbesvik proved to be the star of the race, moving up relentlessly as he claimed fourth place at the finish. Typical of his luck, however, he was then given a time penalty for an alleged safety car infringement - one that was vehemently denied by the Norwegian - which dropped him back down the order.

"Christian was very quick and impressive on the track and, if the cards had fallen differently, he could easily have come away with two wins," team principal John Miller commented, "Although never quite the outright quickest car on the circuit, he was the only frontrunner to turn consistently quick laps ,and his dice with Alguersuari was a highlight of the weekend. I think he will start as a favourite for the F1 support race, which would be a great place to take our debut victory."

Another of the West-Tec entries, piloted by Francisco Villar, also struggled for luck, the Portuguese having his best qualifying laps ruined by red flags and then getting taken out by an out of control Xavi Barrio entering the bridge on lap two of race one. After sterling work to repair his broken suspension, Villar made a strong start from the back of the race two grid - only to be hit from behind and pushed into the wall, breaking all of the parts that had just been replaced, as well as those on the left of the car.

Debutant Ma Qing Hua defied the fact that a brand new street circuit is far from the ideal place to take first steps in a new class and came away with 15th and twelfth place finishes after a pair of tidy but combative races.