Carlin driver Jazeman Jaafar found himself topping two of the three practice sessions today for the 2011 Cooper Tires British Formula 3 Championship at Rockingham. Practice one saw Jaafar take the top spot with his Carlin team mates not far behind, and all within the top eight. Practice two was interrupted by two red flags however the Carlin drivers were again high in the timings. Practice three once again saw all Carlin drivers in great positions and Jaafar taking the top spot.

The day got off to a great start for the Carlin team as Carlos Huertas became the early pace setter during free practice one, putting in some great times he stayed at the top of the leader board for the opening few laps. However the Colombian soon found competition in the form of team mate Jack Harvey who, after 6 laps around the Rockingham Speedway, moved ahead.

With 30 minutes remaining all Carlin drivers were sitting in top eight positions – Harvey still on the top spot with Huertas not far behind.

Huertas became the first man to set a lap time in the 1 minute 12’s with a time of 1:12.932 and as had been the case for most of the session Harvey also followed suit however was just slightly off of the Colombians best time.

To shake-up the order Jaafar set the fastest lap with just under 20 minutes remaining – 5 minutes later and the Carlin drivers had locked-out the top 6 positions. Kevin Magnussen had moved up to third place and was switching positions with Huertas regularly while Felipe Nasr and Rupert Svendsen-Cook rounded off the top 6.

A red flag with eight minutes remaining however halted the progress of many drivers meaning the final positions didn’t improve. Jaafar was fastest from Magnussen and Svendsen-Cook in second and third respectively while close behind was Huertas. Harvey lay in sixth position while Nasr was eighth.

The second practice session of the day once again saw Carlin men set the pace early on. Svendsen-Cook set the fastest time on lap 6 with Jaafar close behind. On only his third lap Nasr jumped into second position and then went quickest on the next lap before the track went red once again.

Nasr was knocked off the top spot as Pietro Fantin set the fastest time of the session, a position he would continue to hold on as the chequered flag fell.

Svendsen-Cook gave Fantin something to think about when he set the quickest lap with twelve minutes remaining however this time was immediately bettered by team mate Jaafar. Fantin managed to push both Carlin men down a position leaving Jaafar second and Svendsen-Cook third. Meanwhile Nasr had been setting some great purple sectors however he was unable to find the perfect lap and finished the session in fourth place.

Another red flag with two minutes remaining brought racing to an abrupt end. Magnussen and Huertas laid sixth and seventh while Harvey was just outside the top ten in 11th.

Practice three once again saw Jaafar topping the sheets in a session which saw him, Magnussen and Harvey swapping quick sector times at the beginning. With ten minutes of the session gone, Carlin drivers had locked-out positions 2 through to 7.

Magnussen came in for a new set of tyres and immediately was setting fast lap times, and getting quicker with each lap – he went quickest and held this position for quite a while through the session.

Petronas backed driver Jaafar took the position off the young Dane on his eighteenth lap (this was also the fastest lap of the day) and held on to the top spot throughout the rest of the session. Svendsen-Cook finished off a Carlin 1-2-3 while Harvey, Huertas and Nasr finished fifth, sixth and seventh respectively.

Reflecting on his successful day, Jazeman Jaafar said, ‘The weekend has started very positive, we had a great balance in the car which felt great to drive. The track kept getting quicker and quicker throughout the session.

‘Looking ahead to tomorrow’s qualifying we’re in a really good position, we just have to stay focused for that.’

The 2011 Cooper Tires British Formula Three action re-starts tomorrow at 10.35 as qualifying gets underway.