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Carlin’s British F3 squad will head back to Brands Hatch this weekend for the fifth round of the Cooper Tires British Formula Three International Series. Having made a strong start to the season, the team have a solid grasp on the championship standings with drivers Jazeman Jaafar, Jack Harvey, Carlos Sainz Jnr, Pietro Fantin and Harry Tincknell having all taken to the podium over the course of this year.

Currently sitting at the top of the 2012 championship standings, Malaysian driver Jaafar comes off the back of two successful race weekends in Pau and Rockingham both of which saw him take British F3 wins promoting him to the top of the standings. Not far behind him a great battle is developing between team mates Harvey and Sainz Jnr who are both within touching distance of toppling one another; while Fantin and Tincknell are locked together with the same tally of points.

Last time out the Carlin team took three wins out of three at the Rockingham Motor Speedway, also locking out the podium during the second race of the weekend. Harvey’s win in the third race became the biggest race winning margin of the year with the Lincolnshire native dominating the field to finish 22 seconds ahead of his nearest rival.

Consisting of nine corners the 4.206km Brands Hatch GP circuit is a regular feature on the British F3 calendar, always providing great action for track side spectators. Having played host to Formula One in the past the circuit is now a well renowned training ground for the stars of tomorrow.

Sainz, Jaafar and Tincknell have already visited the Kent circuit once this year, when the shorter Indy track formed a round of the F3 Euro Series calendar in May.

Already a victor around the track this year in the F3 Euro Series Jazeman Jaafar said, ‘Racing at Brands Hatch is always a special event, it’s a great circuit and the atmosphere is always amazing. I love the track but the biggest challenge this year will be set-up because the track can often be wet in certain parts and dry elsewhere. But we know we have a good car so I’m looking forward to getting out on track.’

Carlos Sainz Jnr added, ‘I’ve never raced around the GP circuit before, only the Indy configuration, so I’m looking forward to seeing what the full track is like. I think we can do well this weekend, from what I know of the track it’s great so I’m hoping for a good race and to collect more valuable points.’

British race team Carlin have enjoyed a successful start to the 2012 season, with the team’s British F3 and GP3 squads topping the time sheets in pre-season testing. Carlin’s GP2 and Formula Renault 3.5 teams have also clocked up times in the top three to mark a strong start to the season over the last two weeks.

British racer Harry Tincknell topped the timesheets in the second day of British F3 testing at Rockingham today, as the team continued to develop its Volkswagen powered 2012 Dallara F3 car. Tincknell’s time was the fastest of the test overall, after fellow Carlin driver Jack Harvey set the pace at Rockingham yesterday. The Carlin men have locked out the top five positions at both the Rockingham and Snetterton pre-season tests, with their team mates Jazeman Jaafar, Carlos Sainz and Pietro Fantin over the last two weeks.

While the British F3 team finished two days of testing at Rockingham today, Carlin’s Formula Renault 3.5 team brought to a close two days of collective testing at the Paul Ricard circuit in France. Kevin Magnussen and Will Stevens both completed a successful test in the brand new FR3.5 car, with Magnussen setting the third fastest time of today’s running.

The Carlin GP3 team also enjoyed a successful outing this week, with Portuguese racer Antonio Felix da Costa setting the quickest time of the official two day test for Carlin. Will Buller was also in the top ten while Alex Brundle continued to make big improvements ahead of his first season in the series.

Preparing for the 2012 GP2 Series, Max Chilton and Rio Haryanto were out on track last week, at the Barcelona circuit in Spain. A consistent front runner in pre-season testing, Chilton set the second fastest time on the first day in Barcelona while Haryanto was seventh. The Briton and Indonesian continued to put in a strong performance in the final test before the season opener in Malaysia later this month.

Reflecting on a positive start to the 2012 season, Trevor Carlin said, “With 12 cars to prepare for the 2012 season across four championships, it’s a great testament to the team that all four squads have had such a strong start to the season. To finish each test within the top three is extremely encouraging and shows the hard work that has gone in over the winter period.”

Felipe Nasr (BRA) Carlin Dallara VolkswagenCarlin’s Felipe Nasr set the pace in both free practice tests at Snetterton today, ahead of rounds seven, eight and nine of the Cooper Tires British F3 Series. Team mate Rupert Svendsen-Cook was also a consistent front runner and was second quickest in both sessions. All of the Carlin drivers made good progress today, with Kevin Magnussen third quickest in this morning’s session and Carlos Huertas also in the top seven this morning. Jack Harvey continued his learning curve in his rookie season, whilst Jazeman Jaafar lost out on track time due to a technical problem.

Both practice sessions were dry at the newly configured Snetterton 300 circuit today, with the Carlin drivers on the pace from the outset. The 2.99 mile circuit attracted positive comments, with a combination of slow, mid speed and fast corners creating a new challenge for the British Formula 3 drivers.

It was Felipe Nasr who got the most from his Volkswagen powered Dallara in the first session, although both Svendsen-Cook and Magnussen briefly took the top spot. Jaafar endured a troublesome first session, completing just three laps following a gearbox problem.

Session two allowed the drivers to work further on their qualifying set-up, with Nasr once again going quickest. The championship leader was most closely matched by Carlin team mate Svendsen-Cook who confirmed his pace around his local track. Magnussen completed the day sixth quickest overall, with Carlos Huertas eighth. Jack Harvey was 15th, while Jaafar was 16th as he recovered from his earlier problem.

Pace setter Nasr said, “Today went very well. I think for sure we have strong pace as we were quick in the morning and afternoon. In the morning we just used old tyres so we were expecting to gain a bit more in the afternoon. I managed a good time on the new tyres and the balance of the car was really good. We made a few changes to the car which seemed to work very well; it just felt great to drive. I think we have a good car for qualifying tomorrow.”

Local hero Svendsen-Cook was also on a charge today and was second quickest in both practice sessions. The Monza race winner is happy with his pace so far, but feels there is more to come in tomorrow’s qualifying session.

“I’m very happy with how the day has gone; we were quick on old tyres and new tyres which is a good sign for qualifying and the races,” said Svendsen-Cook. “I was second in both sessions, so I’m pleased with the consistency I’ve shown today. I made a few mistakes in the second session so I think there’s a bit more to come. We will keep pushing for qualifying.”

Jazeman Jaafar, Felipe Nasr and Carlos Huertas took more solid points in this morning’s sprint race at Oulton Park, in round five of the 2011 Cooper Tires British F3 Series. In a 20 minute sprint around the Cheshire circuit, Jaafar finished fourth, just ahead of team mates Nasr and Huertas. Rupert Svendsen-Cook and Jack Harvey also finished in the points in eighth and tenth receptively, while pole sitter Kevin Magnussen endured a frustrating race after stalling on the grid.

With today’s grid set by the finishing positions of race one – with the top eight reversed – it was Kevin Magnussen who lined up at the front of the field for race two this morning. The young Dane stalled on the grid however, and by the first corner was faced with a fight back through the field.

Ahead of him, Jazeman Jaafar had made a good start from his seventh placed grid slot and had passed team mate Huertas and was challenging fourth place man Harry Tincknell into Cascades but couldn’t quite get close enough and slotted into fourth place ahead of team mates Nasr and Huertas.

With overtaking difficult around the twisting Oulton Park circuit difficult, the order remained unchanged to the chequered flag with Hitech’s Riki Christodoulou taking the Sprint win. Carlin’s Jaafar added to his already impressive points tally with a fourth place, with Nasr fifth to consolidate his place at the top of the championship standings. Huertas held off Foresti for sixth, Svendsen-Cook was eighth, with Harvey completing the top ten

Reflecting on his race, Jaafar said, “I started sixth, which isn’t the best place to start as it’s on the outside with less grip. I didn’t have the best start but I managed to pull up level with Carlos [Huertas] and managed to overtake him. Unfortunately Kevin [Magnussen] stalled as well so by the first corner I had already made up two places. I caught Tincknell by Cascades and was right on his gearbox but unfortunately its quite hard to find a safe overtaking opportunity at Oulton Park. But I’m happy that we’ve scored more good points, and I had a really good feeling about the car this morning.”

Race three of the weekend will take place 14.45 at with Carlin’s Felipe Nasr on pole.