After a fruitful Media Day at Rockingham Motorsport Speedway, it was Norwegian driver Dennis Hauger who ended up fastest overall, with a time of [1:18].547. His time ends Kiern Jewiss’ domination in the pre-season tests, with TRS Arden looking to hit the ground running come the opening round.
In fact, with the day split into two session, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, Jewiss found himself facing true opposition as he failed to top either. The Double R Racing patron was still on form though, ending the day third just 0.2 seconds off the leader.
For many though, it was only a matter of time with Hauger, who graduates from karting full-time this season. After a sixth overall at Brands and fourth at Donington, he’s gradually been gaining on the leaders.
The Red Bull Junior was third as the cars hit the track in the morning, being one of only three to drop below the 1min 19sec benchmark. In fact, the day was largely dominated by Jewiss, Jonathan Hoggard and himself.
Hoggard in the Fortec had been the man to beat during the morning session, with Jewiss and Hauger closely following. The former had led a large portion on the closing hour only to be pipped in final few minutes.
Unfortunately for Hoggard, he could not improve upon his morning pace, with Jewiss once again settling for second, albeit behind Hauger this time.
Elsewhere, Seb Priaulx put in another strong performance in the Arden, finishing fourth for both sessions and joining the leading trio inside the 1min 18s. Notably, the Brit would have been on pace with last years Rockingham test pace setter and another Arden driver Oscar Piastri, with the 2017 runner-up only good enough for fourth in this years standings.
Hampus Ericsson continued his strong average by going fifth, under a tenth in front of the JHR entry Ayrton Simmons.
Simmons is yet to confirm his entry, but should be expected to fight amongst the front-runners during a predicted third season. JHR also fielded two other cars, with last years driver Manuel Sulaiman joining karting graduate Josh Skelton, who ended his first competitive entry at the back.
Skelton is a strong candidate for the final Fortec seat, with current Fortec signing Lucca Allen finishing tenth overall.
Meanwhile at Arden, Patrik Pasma beat Jack Doohan to seventh overall, but with a year of F4 experience and multiple podiums behind him, seventh continues to be a disappointing result for the Finnish driver.
While Jewiss is guiding Double R to prominence during these pre-season tests, his teammates continue to struggle as they adapt to the British circuits. Paavo Tonteri and Sebastian Alvarez picked up ninth and eleventh respectively, with Alvarez nearly a full second back from Jewiss.
Rounding out the report is Jamie Sharp. The family run team have not shown the pace they’re expected to be capable of. Sharp had been fourth at the end of the opening test session at Brands, but his lack of running at Donington appears to have taken its toll.
Sharp left the circuit 13th of the 14 runners, setting a time that was slower than both his pre-season best from last year and his Rockingham qualifying time. The team will need a quick turn around before the next test at Snetterton next Wednesday.