Home Featured Bennett leads Donington pre-event testing ahead of GB3 finale

Bennett leads Donington pre-event testing ahead of GB3 finale

by Steve Whitfield

Photo: GB3

Elite Motorsport’s John Bennett was quickest in GB3’s pre-event test at Donington Park, with the title being decided at the circuit this weekend.

Bennett set a 1m23.036s laptime during the first day of test action on Thursday, with nobody able to lap quicker than him during Friday’s two sessions.

JHR Developments’ James Hedley topped Thursday’s opening 35-minute session by 0.018 seconds from Luke Browning, having set a 1m35.240s in damp conditions before two red flag periods.

The first came after Arden’s Nico Christodoulou ended up on the grass at the Craner Curves, with Carlin’s Callum Voisin then bringing the session to a premature end by sliding off the road at Redgate.

Laptimes improved considerably in a dry and sunny session two, with Chris Dittmann Racing’s Zak Taylor posting a 1m23.625s approaching the halfway mark to lead the way. Voisin lowered the benchmark by 0.1s with five minutes remaining, but his time was soon beaten by Browning, Hedley and Bennett, who ended up best of all. Voisin responded to finish second fastest, 0.171s behind Bennett.

Taylor led the way in a slightly slower final session of the day before Browning moved to the top in the final couple of minutes of running. But he was beaten first by title rival Joel Granfors and seconds later by Christodoulou, who recorded a 1m23.491s to finish quickest.

Browning topped a disrupted opening session on Friday with a 1m24.117s lap, and Carlin’s Roberto Faria caused one of two red flag stoppages by sliding into the gravel at Old Hairpin.

CDR’s McKenzy Cresswell brought out the red flags halfway through the final session with an off at Old Hairpin, with Christodoulou quickest with a 1m 23.741s. Elite’s Tom Lebbon (pictured above) set a 1m23.643s late on to finish ahead of Browning and Voisin, who both set an identical time.

Recently-crowned Formula Nordic champion Philip Victorsson tested with Fortec Motorsports on both days, and Brazilian Formula 4 driver Lucas Staico ran with CDR, but both are not taking part this weekend.

Marcos Flack and Branden Lee Oxley are also not competing at the finale, with the grid expected to total 21 cars.

Fresh from finishing runner-up in the Ginetta Junior championship, Elite’s Will Macintyre was straight on the pace in GB4 testing ahead of his single-seater debut this weekend.

Macintyre set a 1m31.430s in drying conditions to head Fortec’s points leader Nikolas Taylor by 0.244s in Thursday’s opening session, his first in the car. Kevin Mills Racing’s Jarrod Waberski was third ahead of racing returnee Oliver Clarke, who was the quickest of the Hillspeed runners.

Tom Mills led session two until KMR team-mate Waberski edged ahead by 0.006s late on, but it was Macintyre who was fastest again with a 1m29.571s. Waberski led Mills in session three with a 1m30.008s, with Macintyre and Taylor not far behind.

The GB4 field grew to 15 cars on Friday, with Valour Racing running a car for karting graduate Branden Templeton, who is not expected to race at the weekend.

Chloe Grant caused an early red flag in the morning session after going in the gravel at the Fogarty Esses. Mills set the pace once action resumed but was beaten in the closing minutes by Taylor, who set a best lap of 1m29.993s. Macintyre snatched second before Rossoverde Racing’s Christian Lester brought things to an early end with an off at Coppice.

Macintyre beat his own benchmark from Thursday in the final session, but Waberski set a 1m29.352s with five minutes remaining to top testing by 0.040s. All drivers set their best times of the week so far, except for Hillspeed’s Megan Gilkes and Lester, who both registered their best efforts on Thursday.

Testing results

Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 John Bennett Elite Motorsport 1m23.036s 83
2 Callum Voisin Carlin 1m23.207s +0.171s 80
3 Luke Browning Hitech GP 1m23.229s +0.193s 87
4 Tom Lebbon Elite Motorsport 1m23.259s +0.223s 76
5 James Hedley JHR Developments 1m23.308s +0.272s 41
6 Joel Granfors Fortec Motorsports 1m23.367s +0.331s 85
7 Nico Christodoulou Arden Motorsport 1m23.491s +1.455s 76
8 McKenzy Cresswell Chris Dittmann Racing 1m23.510s +1.474s 71
9 Max Esterson Douglas Motorsport 1m23.533s +0.497s 84
10 Zak Taylor Chris Dittmann Racing 1m23.625s +0.589s 81
11 Alex Connor Arden Motorsport 1m23.812s +0.776s 83
12 Javier Sagrera Carlin 1m23.851s +0.815s 81
13 Matthew Rees JHR Developments 1m23.866s +0.830s 78
14 Roberto Faria Carlin 1m23.877s +0.841s 76
15 Bryce Aron Hitech GP 1m23.944s +0.908s 76
16 Cian Shields Hitech GP 1m23.990s +0.954s 88
17 David Morales Arden Motorsport 1m24.025s +0.989s 78
18 Nick Gilkes Hillspeed 1m24.288s +1.252s 73
19 Tommy Smith Douglas Motorsport 1m24.444s +1.408s 71
20 Mikkel Grundtvig Fortec Motorsports 1m24.763s +1.727s 87
21 Ayato Iwasaki Elite Motorsport 1m24.849s +1.813s 73
22 Lucas Staico Chris Dittmann Racing 1m25.106s +2.070s 80
23 Philip Victorsson Fortec Motorsports 1m25.960s +3.924s 84
1 Jarrod Waberski Kevin Mills Racing 1m29.351s 97
2 William Macintyre Elite Motorsport 1m29.391s +0.040s 92
3 Nikolas Taylor Fortec Motorsports 1m29.580s +0.229s 98
4 Tom Mills Kevin Mills Racing 1m29.608s +0.257s 94
5 Max Marzorati Hillspeed 1m29.945s +0.594s 97
6 Oliver Clarke Hillspeed 1m30.043s +0.692s 92
7 Jack Sherwood Elite Motorsport 1m30.233s +0.882s 72
8 Megan Gilkes Hillspeed 1m30.357s +1.006s 96
9 Aqil Alibhai Scorpio 1m30.447s +1.096s 94
10 Chloe Grant Graham Brunton Racing 1m30.613s +1.262s 78
11 Jessica Edgar Fortec Motorsports 1m30.702s +1.351s 98
12 Logan Hannah Graham Brunton Racing 1m30.861s +1.510s 42
13 Carl Bennett Fortec Motorsports 1m31.853s +2.502s 96
14 Christian Lester RossoVerde Racing 1m31.920s +2.569s 56
15 Brandon Templeton Valour Racing 1m34.836s +5.485s 23