ART Grand Prix’s Charles Leclerc extends Series lead after qualifying
Scuderia Ferrari Team Development driver Charles Leclerc pocketed his fourth pole of the 2016 GP3 season in a 1:49.861. The Monegasque was the only driver to lap in the 1m49’s after a closely fought contest for the coveted pole and four bonus points attached. His title rival and teammate Alexander Albon will join him on the front row. Nyck de Vries completed an all ART-GP top three.
Blue skies and scorching temperatures set the scene for the 30 minute qualifying session for Round 8 of the Series, with the category making its maiden visit to the Sepang International Circuit. Leclerc set the initial pace before Albon improved to take P1. Shortly after, Arden International’s Jake Dennis split the ART GP duo to go second before De Vries shot into P2. Albon was pushing hard and ran wide, failing to better his time.
As the drivers returned the pitlane to switch to new Pirelli rubber and make set-up adjustments, Koiranen GP’s Matthew Parry had the Sepang track to himself and posted the second fastest time of the session. De Vries then took provisional pole by 0.142s with eight minutes remaining.
As the clock ticked down, Dennis lit sectors 1 and 2 in purple but failed to improve on his overall lap time, while Campos Racing Alex’s Palou found some extra pace to go straight to the head of the timings. This lasted only briefly before Leclerc went fastest in sector three and flew to the top of the timesheet to lock in provisional pole.
Albon did his best to beat his teammate but had to settle for second place, with De Vries in third. Jack Aitken, Palou, Nirei Fukuzumi, Arjun Maini (Jenzer Motorsport), Sandy Stuvik (Trident), Dennis and Steijn Schothorst completed the top ten.
Race 1 (19 laps) takes place tomorrow at 10.30 am (GMT+8) with the GP3 field eager to race around the Sepang International Circuit for the very first time.
Qualifying*
Driver
Team
Laptime
Laps
1.
Charles Leclerc
ART Grand Prix
1:49.861
13
2.
Alexander Albon
ART Grand Prix
1:50.030
13
3.
Nyck de Vries
ART Grand Prix
1:50.192
14
4.
Jack Aitken
Arden International
1:50.218
13
5.
Alex Palou
Campos Racing
1:50.371
13
6.
Nirei Fukuzumi*
ART Grand Prix
1:50.430
13
7.
Arjun Maini
Jenzer Motorsport
1:50.503
13
8.
Sandy Stuvik
Trident
1:50.533
14
9.
Jake Dennis
Arden International
1:50.698
14
10.
Steijn Schothorst
Campos Racing
1:50.717
13
11.
Antonio Fuoco
Trident
1:50.733
14
12.
Akash Nandy
Jenzer Motorsport
1:50.749
14
13.
Matthew Parry
Koiranen GP
1:50.781
15
14.
Santino Ferrucci
DAMS
1:50.783
12
15.
Alessio Lorandi
Jenzer Motorsport
1:50.831
13
16.
Kevin Jorg
DAMS
1:51.047
12
17.
Jake Hughes
DAMS
1:51.084
12
18.
Giuliano Alesi
Trident
1:51.184
12
19.
Matevos Isaakyan
Koiranen GP
1:51.426
12
20.
Tatiana Calderon
Arden International
1:51.456
13
21.
Konstantin Tereschenko
Campos Racing
1:51.679
12
22.
Artur Janosz
Trident
1:51.881
13
*Fukuzumi has a three place grid penalty following an incident in Monza Race 2