Leonardo Pulcini Takes Shock GP3 Pole in Barcelona

by Chloe Hewitt

Campos Racing‘s Leonardo Pulcini has put himself in the best position for the opening race of the 2018 GP3 Series at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on pole position.

The Italian jumped to the top of the standings at the last gasp, depriving ART Grand Prix of a 1-2-3 on the grid as well a sixteenth pole position in a row – dating back to the opening race of the 2016 season.

ART will still have three of their four drivers starting in the top five with Nikita Mazepin starting second ahead of Anthoine Hubert and Callum IlottJake Hughes had been up at the sharp end but was not able to improve on his early run and dropped down to eleventh.

The session had gotten underway by Trident pair Ryan Tveter and Alessio Lorandi, managing to maintain track position to set early laps.

Hubert and Giuliano Alesi joined the action and quickly took over at the top after a flurry of quick laps.

The ART driver extended his advantage at the top before Mazepin took over control of the session, holding the top spot into the mid-session lull.

Hubert looked as though he was going to go quicker as the cars headed back out on track but hit traffic which ruined his hopes – further dampened by Mazepin extending his advantage by a further four tenths of a second.

Eventually, Hubert got the upper hand but was immediately beaten by Mazepin with it looking like an all ART top three was certain.

With just a minute remaining on the clock, Pulcini pulled a lap out of the bag to claim the top spot to secure pole as the remainder of the field was unable to mount a challenge to the Italian’s time.

Mazepin and Hubert remained second and third, with Ilott a fraction behind his team-mates.

Niko Kari and Dorian Boccolacci locked out the third row for series newcomers MP Motorsport, rookie Simo Laaksonen will start seventh.

Another rookie David Beckmann of Jenzer Motorsport secured eighth with his final timed lap as Lorandi and Alesi completed the top ten.

It is a disappointing eleventh for Hughes, alongside Juan Manuel Correa.

Pedro PiquetTatiana CalderonJulien FalcheroDiego MenchacaJoey MawsonGabriel AubryRyan Tveter and Will Palmer complete the grid.

2018 GP3 Series: Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya – Qualifying

118Leonardo PulciniITACampos Racing1m32.258
23Nikita MazepinRUSART Grand Prix1m32.315
32Anthoine HubertFRAART Grand Prix1m32.405
41Callum IlottGBRART Grand Prix1m32.550
524Niko KariFINMP Motorsport1m32.590
622Dorian Boccolacci FRAMP Motorsport1m32.606
719Simo LaaksonenFINCampos Racing1m32.774
811David BeckmannGERJenzer Motorsport 1m32.796
98Alessio Lorandi ITATrident 1m32.802
106Giuliano Alesi FRATrident 1m32.829
114Jake HughesGBRART Grand Prix1m32.855
1210Juan Manuel CorreaUSAJenzer Motorsport 1m32.894
135Pedro PiquetBRATrident 1m32.953
149Tatiana CalderonCOLJenzer Motorsport 1m32.955
1515Julien FalcheroFRAArden International1m33.099
1620Diego MenchacaMEXCampos Racing1m33.135
1716Joey MawsonAUSArden International1m33.168
1814Gabriel AubryFRAArden International1m33.252
197Ryan TveterUSATrident 1m33.665
2023Will PalmerGBRMP Motorsport1m33.710

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