Van der Zande leads Spa practice

Renger van der Zande warmed up for round seven of the British Formula 3 Championship by topping the combined times after two sessions of free practice at Spa Francorchamps today

Van der Zande leads Spa practice

The Dutchman lapped the 4.35-mile circuit in a 2m36.984s best, right at the death of the quicker second session, held on a wet but drying track.

The Hitech Racing driver had earlier set the sixth fastest time in the wetter morning session, having struggled with the balance of his Dallara-Mercedes.

The team made some changes to the car and, helped by getting an extra lap in right at the end when the track was at its driest, van der Zande vaulted to the top of the times, over seven tenths clear of British F3 debutant Jake Rozenzweig (Carlin).

"The car didn't work properly this morning - I had lots of understeer," said van der Zande. "But we made some changes, which were good, and managed to get the quickest lap time. It's only practice, but it gives me some confidence. I'm quick enough to be on top, so I just need to do my job."

Behind fastest invitation entry Rozenzweig, T-Sport's Adriano Buzaid followed up a strong run at Donington last weekend by going quickest by 0.8s in the morning session and setting the third fastest time overall.

Buzaid's team-mate Wayne Boyd, who claimed his maiden F3 win at Donington last weekend, showed impressive commitment through Eau Rouge in the tricky conditions and was fourth overall, having struggled this morning.

Reigning Formula BMW Europe champion and F3 Euro Series rookie Esteban Gutierrez was the fastest of Euro Series dominator ART's entries in fifth, while Colombian F3 rookie Carlos Huertas followed up his strongest outing of the season so far at Donington by rounding out the top six, having arrived late at the circuit and missed the morning session.

British Championship leader Daniel Ricciardo (Carlin) went eighth fastest, while Euro Series leader Jules Bianchi (ART) struggled to the 12th fastest time on his first visit to the legendary track. Team-mate and reigning Master of F3 Valtteri Bottas suffered a mechanical problem in the second session and wound up 15th fastest.

Pos Driver  Team Car Time 1. Renger van der Zande Hitech D/M 2m36.984s 2. Jake Rozenzweig Carlin D/V 2m37.690s 3. Adriano Buzaid T-Sport D/V 2m38.231s 4. Wayne Boyd T-Sport D/V 2m38.241s 5. Esteban Gutierrez ART D/M 2m38.637s 6. Carlos Huertas Double R D/M 2m38.892s 7. Riki Christodoulou Fortec D/M 2m39.073s 8. Daniel Ricciardo Carlin D/V 2m39.106s 9. Jay Bridger Litespeed M/H 2m40.088s 10. Henry Arundel Carlin D/V 2m40.173s 11. Daisuke Nakajima Double R D/M 2m40.220s 12. Jules Bianchi ART D/M 2m40.303s 13. Hywel Lloyd CF Racing D/H 2m41.282s 14. Walter Grubmuller Hitech D/M 2m41.465s 15. Valtteri Bottas ART D/M 2m41.472s 16. Max Chilton Carlin D/V 2m41.766s 17. Victor Correa Litespeed S/H 2m42.392s 18. Gabriel Dias T-Sport D/H 2m42.610s 19. Victor Garcia Fortec D/M 2m42.904s 20. Stephane Richelmi Barazi-Epsilon D/M 2m42.949s 21. Daniel McKenzie Fortec D/H 2m43.586s 22. Nicolas Marroc Racing Experience D/M 2m44.036s 23. Philip Major Carlin D/V 2m44.648s 24. Max Snegirev West-Tec D/H 2m46.849s 25. Kevin Chen Double R D/M 2m51.891s 
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