Van der Zande tops Donington test

British Formula 3 front runner Renger van der Zande began his weekend in the perfect fashion by topping the times during Friday's official pre-race testing at Donington Park on his first visit to the Midlands venue

Van der Zande tops Donington test

The Dutchman lapped the National circuit in a 1m01.989s best in the later of two sessions and was the only man to dip below 62s on a day interrupted by red flags, wind and rain.

The Hitech Racing driver ended the day 0.072s clear of championship leader Daniel Ricciardo (Carlin), who set fastest time in session one, good enough for second overall, while van der Zande's team-mate Walter Grubmuller went fourth fastest. The top two were well clear of the rest of the field.

Reflecting on another strong start to a race weekend, double race winner Van der Zande said: "In the first session I was quickest by four tenths on old tyres until my car broke down and I was still P2. Then in the second session I just pushed straight on and we were quickest.

"It's good. Walter was quick too, we have a good car and we can improve from each other because Walter is faster in some corners and I'm faster in others. I'm feeling confident and if we can put it all together tomorrow then it should be good, although tomorrow it might rain, so it could be completely different.

"At Brands Hatch [testing 10 days ago] I was quickest in the wet, but that's a high-grip rain track whereas this is low grip, so we'll have to see how that works out - I'm still confident."

Colombian Carlos Huertas endured a nightmare outing for Raikkonen Robertson Racing at Snetterton last time out, but returned to his regular strong Friday form with third fastest time here. Team-mate Daisuke Nakajima had a less fruitful day and finished up a lowly 10th fastest.

Ricciardo's Carlin team-mate Henry Arundel went fifth quickest, just under a tenth clear of mightily impressive National Class runner Gabriel Dias (T-Sport), who finished up sixth overall and over a second clear of title rival Daniel McKenzie (Fortec).

Championship Class team-mates Adriano Buzaid and Wayne Boyd were seventh and ninth fastest respectively, but the Brazilian ended his day in the gravel and the reigning British Formula Ford champion finished his in the barrier.

Snetterton winner Riki Christodoulou (Fortec) also crashed his Dallara-Mercedes and ended up 11th fastest after struggling for speed throughout the day.

National Class newcomer Aaron Steele (Litespeed) did not appear. Budget problems have prevented him competing this weekend, but he hopes to return to the squad's second SLC Mugen-Honda later in the year.

Pos Driver Team Car Time 1. Renger van der Zande Hitech D/M 1m01.989s 2. Daniel Ricciardo Carlin D/V 1m02.061s 3. Carlos Huertas Double R D/M 1m02.304s 4. Walter Grubmuller Hitech D/M 1m02.375s 5. Henry Arundel Carlin D/V 1m02.443s 6. Gabriel Dias T-Sport D/H 1m02.534s 7. Adriano Buzaid T-Sport D/V 1m02.541s 8. Max Chilton Carlin D/V 1m02.561s 9. Wayne Boyd T-Sport D/V 1m02.686s 10. Daisuke Nakajima Double R D/M 1m02.706s 11. Riki Christodoulou Fortec D/M 1m02.869s 12. Philip Major Carlin D/V 1m03.299s 13. Jay Bridger Litespeed M/H 1m03.385s 14. Hywel Lloyd CF Racing D/H 1m03.397s 15. Dominic Storey Double R D/M 1m03.473s 16. Victor Garcia Fortec D/M 1m03.574s 17. Daniel McKenzie Fortec D/H 1m03.680s 18. Max Snegirev West-Tec D/H 1m04.467s 19. Victor Correa Litespeed S/H 1m04.853s 
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