Carlin’s Jack Harvey and Jazeman Jaafar were the pace setters in today’s official testing at Donington, ahead of the 2012 Cooper Tires British F3 Series finale this weekend. The Carlin men were separated by just 0.093 seconds, as they topped the timesheets ahead of their main championship rival Felix Serralles. Carlin’s Pietro Fantin also completed a strong test and was fourth fastest overall and second fastest in this afternoon’s damp session, while team mate Harry Tincknell was eighth fastest overall.

Following news that his team had won an appeal against his 30-second time penalty from race two at Silverstone, Harvey was in a confident mood heading to Donington this week. The Racing Steps backed driver was relegated from second place to 12th, after it was deemed he had caused a collision with Fortec’s Pipo Derani on the opening lap of the reserve grid race at the last event at Silverstone. The penalty reversal means the standings are now closer than ever, as Jaafar leads the standings by three points from Fortec’s Serralles, who is a further three points ahead of Harvey.

As the Carlin quartet of Jaafar, Harvey, Fantin and Tincknell began a detailed test programme at Donington this morning, it was Serralles who set the early pace and was quickest 15 minutes into the session. However, points leader Jaafar put his mark on the session to go quickest with 15 minutes remaining before his team mate and championship rival bettered his effort with a 1.23.156. Both efforts remained unbeaten, with Harvey finishing the session quickest, just 0.093 seconds ahead of Jaafar, with Serralles third and Fantin fourth, while Tincknell was eighth.

After time to digest data gathered from the first session of the day, the British F3 drivers were back on track for second practice. Again Serralles was the early pace setter, but this time the onset of rain prevented the Carlin drivers from improving. The session continued without too much excitement and in damp conditions and at the chequered flag Serralles was quickest, just ahead of Fantin, although Harvey and Jaafar’s best times from the morning session remained unbeaten.

Pace setter Harvey said, “It’s been quite a good day for us, I was quickest in the dry and around P3 in the wet conditions with a good balance on the car. We’ve got a bit of time to find in the wet to be completely happy, but we’re certainly going in the right direction. It’s been a positive test and I think we can be relatively happy whatever the weather does now this weekend, as long as we’re on the right tyres at the right time! We’re in good shape to fight for the championship.”

Team mate and points leader Jaafar added, “It’s been a good start to the weekend, we’ve definitely got good pace, although the weather was a bit of a challenge this afternoon. Nevertheless I think we’ll have a strong pace in the wet and the dry. I can’t wait to go out for qualifying on Saturday, which is when the lap times will really mean something.”

The British F3 drivers will have a day of rest to contemplate the season finale, before qualifying gets underway at 12.20 local time on Saturday.