Amazing Ocon takes pole for Imola Opener

Esteban Ocon took pole position for the opening race of the Imola weekend of the FIA European Formula 3 Championship, with his main championship rival Max Verstappen starting the race from down in fifteenth position due to his engine change penalty carried over from the Nurburgring.

Prema Powerteam driver Ocon led the way ahead of Antonio Giovinazzi in the first qualifying session of the weekend, with the Jagonya Ayam with Carlin driver missing out on pole by 0.132s.   However a three-place penalty carried over from Germany means the Italian will start fifth. Jordan King will therefore start second for Carlin ahead of Giovinazzi’s team-mate Tom Blomqvist in third.

Verstappen could only qualify fifth in Imola, but will drop ten places as result of that engine change penalty he received in Germany in August. He will also drop the same amount of positions for race two, although the grid for that race will be decided in the second qualifying session of the weekend on Saturday.

Felix Rosenqvist moves up two positions on the grid to fourth after the penalties for Giovinazzi and Verstappen, while Jake Dennis will start sixth for Carlin ahead of practice pacesetter Antonio Fuoco of Prema Powerteam.

Lucas Auer will start eighth for Mücke Motorsport ahead of Nicholas Latifi of Prema Powerteam, while Sean Galael moves into the top ten for Jagonya Ayam with Carlin.

Galael was the cause of the first of two red flags that disrupted the session when he spun into the barriers at the Villeneuve chicane after being caught out by Verstappen ahead of him slowing down, while the second red flag was caused by ThreeBond with T-Sport driver Alexander Toril spinning off at Ravazza.

Imola Race 1 Qualifying Times

1 Esteban Ocon FRA Prema Powerteam 1:36.479
2 Jordan King GBR Carlin 1:36.890
3 Tom Blomqvist GBR Jagonya Ayam with Carlin 1:36.973
4 Felix Rosenqvist SWE Mücke Motorsport 1:37.016
5** Antonio Giovinazzi ITA Jagonya Ayam with Carlin 1:36.611
6 Jake Dennis GBR Carlin 1:37.031
7 Antonio Fuoco ITA Prema Powerteam 1:37.125
8 Lucas Auer AUT Mücke Motorsport 1:37.147
9 Nicholas Latifi CAN Prema Powerteam 1:37.187
10 Sean Galael INO Jagonya Ayam with Carlin 1:37.375
11 Dennis van de Laar NED Prema Powerteam 1:37.481
12 Felix Serralles PUE Team West-Tec F3 1:37.491
13 Gustavo Menezes NED Van Amersfoort Racing 1:37.564
14 Tatiana Calderon COL Jo Zeller Racing 1:37.592
15* Max Verstappen NED Van Amersfoort Racing 1:37.006
16 Jules Szymkowiak NED Van Amersfoort Racing 1:37.659
17 William Buller GBR Signature 1:37.679
18 Ed Jones UAE Carlin 1:37.758
19 Nick Cassidy NZL ThreeBond with T-Sport 1:37.775
20 Roy Nissany ISR Mücke Motorsport 1:37.925
21 Alexander Toril ESP ThreeBond with T-Sport 1:37.926
22 Richard Goddard AUS ThreeBond with T-Sport 1:38.105
23 Santino Ferrucci USA Fortec Motorsports 1:38.363
24 Martin Cao CHN Fortec Motorsports 1:38.415
25 Sergio Matte Camara BRZ EuroInternational 1:38.609
26 Michele Beretta ITA EuroInternational 1:38.825
27 Andy Chang CHN Team West-Tec F3 1:39.292
* Ten place penalty for engine change *
** Three place penalty for avoidable collision in Germany **