On home soil, Luca Ghiotto was eager to please his army of loyal supporters and he certainly did just that. The series leader produced a stunning lap in wet conditions which was one second clear ahead of ART Grand Prix’s Esteban Ocon.
Koiranen GP’s Matthew Parry clearly enjoyed the conditions as he posted his best qualifying result of his rookie campaign with third.
Following heavy rain and thunderstorms, the circuit was declared a wet track ahead of the thirty minute qualifying session. Temperatures were much cooler than yesterday’s Free Practice with the drivers tentative in the early stages, the spray being an early factor.
Ghiotto took control early on before ART’s Marvin Kirchhöfer lapped a mere 0.004s faster. At the midway point, Kirchhöfer, Ghiotto and the Arden International duo of Emil Bernstorff and Kevin Ceccon completed the top four.
The track improved each lap, as did the times; with the German bettering his own personal best to dip into the 1m51s. But Ghiotto responded with a laptime 0.077s faster.
The big question at the start of the session was whether the track would sufficiently dry enough for slick tyres to be put on. This was not the case, so the drivers returned to the pitlane to switch to their second set of Pirelli wet tyres.
Ocon then headed the timesheet by almost half a second but Ghiotto was on a mission and flew into the 1m50s, six tenths clear of the Frenchman. Parry jumped up to third as the clock ticked down.
Ghiotto improved yet again on his second flier to re-enforce his commanding pole position. At the chequered flag the top ten finished as: Ghiotto, Ocon, Parry, Ceccon, Bernstorff, Kirchhöfer, Alex Palou (Campos Racing), Antonio Fuoco (Carlin), Seb Morris (Status Grand Prix) and Jimmy Eriksson.
The forty-minute long race starts at 17.20pm local time. The track provides plenty of passing opportunities so predicting the final result will be near impossible.