Charles Leclerc flies to fourth pole of the season in Sepang

Charles Leclerc (FRA, ART Grand Prix) takes pole 2016 GP3 Series Round 8 Sepang International Circuit, Sepang, Malaysia. Friday 30 September 2016 Photo: /GP3 Series Media Service ref: Digital Image _SLA4339

ART Grand Prix driver and Ferrari Driver Academy member Charles Leclerc brought himself one step closer to the GP3 Series title after pocketing his fourth pole of the campaign and the all important four bonus points. Joining him on the front row is team-mate and title rival Alexander Albon with Nyck de Vries completing the ART 1-2-3.

With GP3 making its maiden visit to the Sepang International Circuit, it was championship leader Leclerc who lead from the off before Albon improved on the Monegasque driver’s time to claim P1. The ART pairing were soon split as Arden International‘s Jake Dennis took over in the P2 spot with de Vries doing so soon after.

As most of the drivers returned to the pits to take on fresh rubber, Koiranen GP‘s Matthew Parry stayed out and in doing so put himself up to P2. De Vries then took his turn at sitting in provisional pole with eight minutes left on the session.

Dennis looked to return to the top of the pile – lighting up sectors 1 and 2 purple but failed to improve on his best overall lap time. Campos Racing‘s Alex Palou did manage to find some extra pace to go straight to the head of the timings – this was only briefly as Leclerc went fastest to retake the P1 spot.

Albon tried his best to better his team-mate but ultimately it was not enough, with de Vries ending up just being him. The top ten was completed by Jack Aitken, Palou, Nirei FukuzumiArjun MainiSandy Stuvik, Dennis and Steijn Schothorst.

However, Fukuzumi has a three place grid penalty to serve following an incident with Leclerc at Monza which saw the championship leader have to retire from the race.

Additionally, following the end of the qualifying session it was found that Palou was in breach of Articles 4.3.12 and 4.1 of the GP3 Series regulations as the height of the underfloor was below the minimum and therefore has been excluded from qualifying and thus will start from the back of the grid.

The maiden GP3 race in Malaysia starts at 10.30 local time tomorrow.

Sepang International Circuit Qualifying Results

11Charles LeclercMONART Grand Prix1m49.861
23Alexander AlbonTHAART Grand Prix1m50.030
34Nyck de VriesNEDART Grand Prix1m50.192
411Jack AitkenGBRArden International1m50.218
522Alex PalouESPCampos Racing1m50.371
62Nirei FukuzumiJPNART Grand Prix1m50.430
720Arjun MainiINDJenzer Motorsport1m50.503
88Sandy StuvikTHATrident1m50.533
99Jake Dennis GBRArden International1m50.698
1023Steijn SchothorstNEDCampos Racing1m50.717
115Antonio FuocoITATrident1m50.733
1218Akash NandyMASJenzer Motorsport1m50.749
1314Matthew ParryGBRKoiranen GP1m50.781
1426Santino FerrucciUSADAMS1m50.783
1519Alessio LorandiITAJenzer Motorsport1m50.831
1628Kevin JörgSUIDAMS1m51.047
1727Jake HughesGBRDAMS1m51.084
187Giuliano AlesiFRATrident1m51.184
1916Matevos IsaakyanRUSKoiranen GP1m51.426
2010Tatiana CalderonCOLArden International1m51.456
2124Konstantin TereschenkoRUSCampos Racing1m51.679
226Artur Janosz POLTrident1m51.881