ART Grand Prix driver Esteban Ocon claimed the GP3 Series pole position in Bahrain by over half a second to title rival Luca Ghiotto on Thursday. By claiming pole position and the four points a driver is awarded by doing so, the title has swung back in favour of Ocon who now leads the standings by two points.
The session was stopped briefly after rookie Matevos Isaakyan, who will be in the Koiranen GP car this weekend in place of Adderly Fong, stopped at turn 10.
When action resumed, Ocon joined Emil Bernstorff and Ghiotto by setting a lap time in the 1m47’s to post the third fastest time. As drivers pitted for fresh rubber, Arden International‘s Kevin Ceccon displaced Ocon for third with the top four drivers covered by a mere 0.281s.
Campos Racing driver Alex Palou managed to pull a storming lap out of the bag to go half a second quicker than Ghiotto with just five minutes left on the clock.
Ocon continued his run of form from the morning session as he returned to the top of the time sheet – and was the first, and ultimately only, one to dip into the 1m46’s. Ceccon improved up to second place but only for a matter of seconds as Ghiotto clocked a lap time 0.009s quicker than his fellow Italian to take second place in the dying stages.
As the flag dropped Ocon claimed his second consecutive pole in the series ahead of his main rival Ghiotto, followed by Ceccon, Palou, Marvin Kirchhöfer, Artur Janosz, Bernstorff, Jann Mardenborough, Jimmy Eriksson and Antonio Fuoco, who rounded out the top ten.
The forty-minute long feature race takes place on Friday at 13:20 local time (GMT+3).