Dennis takes maiden pole in wet Pau qualifying

Jake Dennis took advantage of the weather and his past experience of the Pau street circuit in France to take his maiden FIA European Formula 3 Championship pole position for race one.

The Briton, who switched from Carlin to Prema Powerteam during the off-season, was quickest in Group B of the qualifying, with his 1m21.795s enough to beat Charles Leclerc of Van Amersfoort Racing, who topped Group A of the split qualifying with a 1m22.845s.

Dennis’ quick lap means every driver in Group B will line-up on the odd-numbered grid slots, meaning Maximilian Günther, second fastest in Group B will start third for Mücke Motorsport, with Callum Ilott fifth in his Red Bull-backed Carlin machine.

Current championship leader Antonio Giovinazzi was second fastest in Group A, so the Jagonya Ayam with Carlin driver will therefore line-up fourth on the grid for race one, with Alexander Albon of Signature set to start sixth.

Alessio Lorandi of Van Amersfoort Racing will start a season-high seventh, with Mikkel Jensen of Mücke Motorsport eighth, while the top ten is completed by George Russell of Carlin and Arjun Maini of Van Amersfoort Racing.

Felix Rosenqvist, who had been unbeaten in qualifying so far in 2015, was unable to make it seven in a row, and will start a lowly fourteenth on the grid, just behind Prema Powerteam team-mates Lance Stroll and Brandon Maisano.

The Group B session had to be halted for a few minutes as red flags flew to clear up a two-car crash between Jagonya Ayam with Carlin’s Ryan Tveter and Michele Beretta of Mücke Motorsport.

With the nature of the Pau circuit, the circuit can only allow thirty-two cars to participate, meaning the bottom driver in each session will not qualify for the race. Double R Racing’s Nicolas Pohler and Team Motopark’s Mahaveer Raghunathan were the unfortunate drivers to not qualify for race one.

Pau Race 1 Qualifying Result (Group A)

17Charles LeclercMONVan Amersfoort Racing1m22.845s
23Antonio GiovinazziITAJagonya Ayam with Carlin1m23.296s
321Alexander AlbonTHASignature1m23.375s
427Mikkel JensenDENMucke Motorsport1m23.570s
529Arjun MainiINDVan Amersfoort Racing1m23.723s
625Lance StrollCANPrema Powerteam1m23.919s
71Felix RosenqvistSWEPrema Powerteam1m23.950s
823Sergio Sette CamaraBRZMotopark1m24.244s
95Santino FerrucciUSAMucke Motorsport1m24.304s
1016Gustav MaljaSWEEuroInternational1m24.811s
119Tatiana CalderonCOLCarlin1m24.853s
1231Hongwei CaoCHNFortec Motorsports1m25.543s
1311Fabian SchillerGERTeam West-Tec F31m25.825s
1417Julio MorenoECUThreebond with T-Sport1m26.434s
1519Matt SolomonHKGDouble R Racing1m26.679s
1635Kang LingCHNMucke Motorsport1m26.873s
DNQ34Mahaveer RaghunathanINDMotopark1m27.678s

Pau Race 1 Qualifying Result (Group B)

12Jake DennisGBRPrema Powerteam1m21.795s
228Maximilian GuntherGERMucke Motorsport1m22.581s
330Callum IlottGBRCarlin1m22.644s
48Alessio LorandiITAVan Amersfoort Racing1m22.651s
510George RussellGBRCarlin1m22.945s
612Pietro FittipaldiBRZFortec Motorsports1m23.091s
724Brandon MaisanoFRAPrema Powerteam1m23.194s
84Gustavo MenezesUSAJagonya Ayam with Carlin1m23.287s
920Dorian BoccolacciFRASignature1m23.372s
106Michele BerettaITAMucke Motorsport1m23.514s
1138Raoul HymanRSATeam West-Tec F31m23.578s
1236Sam MacLeodGBRMotopark1m23.884s
1322Nabil JeffriMAYMotopark1m24.185s
1414Matt RaoGBRFortec Motorsports1m24.297s
1526Ryan TveterUSAJagonya Ayam with Carlin1m24.446s
1634Markus PommerGERMotopark1m24.557s
DNQ18Nicolas PohlerGERDouble R Racing1m26.841s