Brands Hatch European F3: Lucas Auer sets practice pace

Lucas Auer set the fastest time during the 80 minutes of free practice ahead of this weekend's Formula 3 European Championship round at Brands Hatch

Brands Hatch European F3: Lucas Auer sets practice pace

The Austrian, who has never raced at Brands but learned the 1.2-mile Indy circuit a couple of months ago in a test in a Formula Renault BARC car, edged out Prema Powerteam Dallara-Mercedes team-mate Raffaele Marciello by 0.049 seconds.

Championship leader Marciello was narrowly ahead of the Mucke Motorsport Dallara-Mercedes of Felix Rosenqvist, who headed the first 40-minute session.

An improvement on the very last lap meant that Mans Grenhagen moved up to fourth, just behind fellow Swede Rosenqvist, in his Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara-Volkswagen.

Felix Serralles (Fortec Motorsport Dallara-Mercedes) and Jordan King (Carlin Dallara-VW) rounded out the top six.

The most significant incident occurred with two minutes remaining in the first session, when Alex Lynn - second fastest at the time - spun at McLaren and gently nosed his Prema car into the barriers at Clearways.

The Englishman missed the first 12 minutes of the second session, but went seventh fastest, just 0.002s behind fifth fastest Serralles.

Tom Blomqvist, Dennis van de Laar and Michael Lewis completed the top 10. Of the other UK drivers, Harry Tincknell was 11th, Josh Hill 12th, Will Buller 13th and Jann Mardenborough - the last man within half a second of the fastest time - 18th.

Qualifying takes place later this afternoon, with the field split into two groups - odd and even numbers - for their two sessions owing to traffic concerns arising from a 29-car field on a 41-second lap.

Combined practice times:

Pos  Driver              Team/Car                        Time       Gap
 1.  Lucas Auer          Prema Dallara-Merc              41.276s  
 2.  Raffaele Marciello  Prema Dallara-Merc              41.325s  + 0.049s
 3.  Felix Rosenqvist    Mucke Dallara-Merc              41.348s  + 0.072s
 4.  Mans Grenhagen      Van Amersfoort Dallara-VW       41.450s  + 0.174s
 5.  Felix Serralles     Fortec Dallara-Merc             41.468s  + 0.192s
 6.  Jordan King         Carlin Dallara-VW               41.469s  + 0.193s
 7.  Alex Lynn           Prema Dallara-Merc              41.470s  + 0.194s
 8.  Tom Blomqvist       Eurointernational Dallara-Merc  41.478s  + 0.202s
 9.  Dennis van de Laar  Van Amersfoort Dallara-VW       41.532s  + 0.256s
10.  Michael Lewis       Mucke Dallara-Merc              41.560s  + 0.284s
11.  Harry Tincknell     Carlin Dallara-VW               41.596s  + 0.320s
12.  Josh Hill           Fortec Dallara-Merc             41.601s  + 0.325s
13.  Will Buller         T-Sport Dallara-Nissan          41.603s  + 0.327s
14.  Sven Muller         Ma-con Dallara-VW               41.613s  + 0.337s
15.  Lucas Wolf          URD Dallara-Merc                41.654s  + 0.378s
16.  Antonio Giovinazzi  Double R Dallara-Merc           41.672s  + 0.396s
17.  Daniil Kvyat        Carlin Dallara-VW               41.683s  + 0.407s
18.  Jann Mardenborough  Carlin Dallara-VW               41.723s  + 0.447s
19.  Nicholas Latifi     Carlin Dallara-VW               41.837s  + 0.561s
20.  Pipo Derani         Fortec Dallara-Merc             41.874s  + 0.615s
21.  Eddie Cheever       Prema Dallara-Merc              41.891s  + 0.686s
22.  Roy Nissany         Mucke Dallara-Merc              41.962s  + 0.748s
23.  Spike Goddard       T-Sport Dallara-Nissan          42.024s  + 0.790s
24.  Mitchell Gilbert    Mucke Dallara-Merc              42.066s  + 0.916s
25.  Andre Rudersdorf    Ma-con Dallara-VW               42.192s  + 1.740s
26.  Sean Gelael         Double R Dallara-Merc           42.385s  + 1.109s
27.  Tatiana Calderon    Double R Dallara-Merc           42.646s  + 1.370s
28.  Sandro Zeller       Zeller Dallara-Merc             42.755s  + 1.479s
29.  Michela Cerruti     Romeo Ferraris Dallara-Merc     43.815s  + 2.539s
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