Van der Zande hopeful of full season

Renger van der Zande says he would like to extend his one-race British Formula 3 deal with Hitech Racing beyond this weekend at Silverstone to contest the rest of the championship

Van der Zande hopeful of full season

The Mercedes-backed Dutchman, who finished fourth in F3 Euro Series last season, hoped to graduate to GP2 with Arden in 2009 but lost the deal when his major sponsor pulled out at the end of last year.

A planned switch to the DTM with Mercedes, after some encouraging testing performances, also fell through two weeks ago when the pointed star decided to reduce the number of cars it would field in this year's championship.

"For now it's only one race, but I'd like to do the full championship here, the Masters and Macau," van der Zande told AUTOSPORT.

"I like the team, it's a really good team. Mercedes contacted the Grubmullers who said they could sort something out for me. The first time I saw the car I was smiling and after the first time I drove it yesterday I was smiling even more."

Van der Zande will start his first British F3 race from the front row after setting second fastest time in qualifying this morning, just 0.021s adrift of pole-sitter Max Chilton and over three tenths clear of team-mate Walter Grubmuller.

"There's definitely more time in the car," he added. "The thing for me is getting used to the tyres. The Kumho [used in the Euro Series] is very round and has more slip angle to play with, whereas the Coopers are narrower and just snap when you go over the limit. The compound is also softer and gives better grip."

Van der Zande ruled out the possibility of graduating to GP2 or the DTM this season, but hopes to make the move next year.

"This year I don't think there's a chance of GP2 or DTM," he said. "Mercedes brought me in this weekend and my focus is on getting good results for them, but I'd really like to do DTM - the car is super quick and sits me really well.

"I can drive it quickly with two fingers in my nose, as we say in Holland."

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