March 7, 2017
All would be out for the day hoping to make progress, this would be a particularly important day for Ayrton and Oscar who will be back to Donington to race in rounds 4, 5 & 6 of the championship. Olli won’t be joining the series until Croft where he turns 15 years old.
The track was damp to start with so after a few sighting laps to drivers headed up to the media room to get some press duties done which included photos and interviews. It wasn’t long before the track then went dry so it was time to get back on track for all drivers.
As the session moved into the latter stages Ayrton was particularly strong and challenged for the top finishing the session in 3rd just 0.060 seconds off the top! Oscar wasn’t quite able to match Ayrton, but still did an impressive time which left him 5th place. Olli Caldwell did 38 laps in the session and had his last run cut short due to a red flag meaning he was unable to improve on 11th place.
It was a great start to testing albeit unfortunate with red flags, but the afternoon session saw a rise in temperature and a chance to do a new tyre run. With Yves Baltas not testing there would be a fourth Arden car out but not with Baltas pedalling it.
Ayrton was the early pace setter in terms of the Arden drivers setting his quickest time 29 laps into his session. He was unable to do a new tyre run at the end, which consequently left him behind others who did, in 6th place.
Oscar was 2nd for the majority of the session just 0.002 seconds off the top, but he also opted out of the last ten minutes of the session and decided to do some practice starts. It was during this time he dropped from 2nd to 4th, but knowing he had the pace he seemed very satisfied.
As for Olli he was also hampered by red flags at key points during his session, but he did complete a significant amount of laps making up for the first session, some of those being race distances. He may have ended up 11th, but the experience gained was invaluable and he’ll be moving on to Brands with even more confidence.
The driver in the fourth car was Alex Quinn. Alex was the Rookie Champion in F4 last year with Fortec Motorsport. With Baltas’ car free Alex came along to do an evaluation session for the team and had nothing but good feedback. He certainly seemed comfortable and got within six tenths of the quickest driver in just 45 laps. After a lengthy absence that is seriously impressive!
Jamie Sharp was also present with Sharp Motorsport and completed just shy of 75 laps. Still gaining experience and confidence Jamie certainly would have benefited with experience in both wet and dry conditions and was 18th overall 2.5 seconds off the fastest time.
The team will travel to Brand Hatch tomorrow for another official test using the Indy layout.