Leclerc charges to take Spa Pole as Albon stutters


Charles Leclerc - Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

GP3 Series qualifying ended with Charles Leclerc on pole after an intriguing session at Spa-Francorchamps on Saturday morning.

The ART Grand Prix driver was three tenths quicker than his nearest rival, mastering the Spa-Francorchamps circuit. Meanwhile, his main rival for the Championship, team-mate Alexander Albon, starts from seventeenth.

Despite the cooler conditions from yesterday, track temperature were up to 27 degrees. This meant that it didn’t take long for the drivers to get up to speed and warm the tyres.

Nyck de Vries was the first to set a benchmark and with a time of 2:06.370, with only one second separating first to seventeenth. The fastest driver from Friday practice, Jake Hughes was initially second, two tenths behind.

Going into the second half of the session, Leclerc proved to be the man on the move and dominated his lap to take pole despite Hughes also improving. The warmer climate meant that the tyres were easily going off as drivers had to maximise their first lap.

Sadly though, this caught out a number of the competitors as they finished way down the order. DeVries time from the first half proved to be enough to hold on to third despite not improving in the second half.

This left championship leader, Leclerc to take pole from Hughes and De Vries. The Monegasque driver adds another four points to his lead and will hope to dominate as his closest rival, Alexander Albon could only manage seventeenth. Albon had run wide on his first lap on his second run, and this proved to be costly for the Thai driver.

The third title contender of Antonio Fuoco again put in a solid performance and will line up fourth ensuring he could still be a real threat for the win. Behind him, a late lap from Kevin Jörg proved to be enough to launch him to fifth.

In sixth was Matt Parry, who will hope to continue his run of strong points scoring. While rounding out the top eight will be Arjun Maini and Sandy Stuvik who both know the importance of reverse grid pole.

GP3 – Spa-Francorchamps Qualifying Results

POSNO.NAMENATTEAMTIME
11Charles LeclercMonART Grand Prix2m04.896
227Jake HughesGBRDAMS2m05.259
34Nyck De VriesNEDART Grand Prix2m05.393
45Antonio FuocoITATrident2m05.448
528Kevin JoergSUIDAMS2m05.612
614Matt ParryGBRKoiranen GP2m05.653
720Arjun MainiINDJenzer Motorsport2m05.661
88Sandy StuvikTHATrident2m05.758
926Santiano FerrucciUSADAMS2m05.852
1022Alex PalouESPCampos Racing2m05.880
112Nirei FukuzumiJPNART Grand Prix2m06.012
1216Matevos IsaakyanRUSKoiranen GP2m06.145
139Jake DennisGBRArden International2m06.179
1411Jake AitkenGBRArden International2m06.185
1523Steijn SchothorstNEDCampos Racing2m06.201
1619Oscar TunjoCOLJenzer Motorsport2m06.282
173Alexander AlbonTHAART Grand Prix2m06.421
186Arthur JanoszPOLTrident2m06.531
197Giuliano AlesiFRATrident2m06.740
2024Konstantin TereschenkoRUSCampos Racing2m06.769
2117Niko KariFINKoiranen GP2m06.772
2210Tatiana CalderonCOLArden International2m06.900
2318Akash NandyMASJenzer Motorsport2m07.086