Guan Yu Zhou secured his maiden FIA European Formula 3 Championship pole position on Friday as he led a Prema Theodore Racing 1-2-3-4 in the opening Qualifying session at Zandvoort, while Daniel Ticktum secured poles for races two and three for Motopark.
Zhou was the only driver to dip below 1:29s during the session, with his 1:28.861s ending up 0.143 seconds clear of stablemate Ralf Aron, while two more Prema drivers line-up on row two, Mick Schumacher ahead of championship leader Marcus Armstrong.
Just 0.262 seconds separate the four, with Schumacher the last the jump into the top four on his final lap, while relegated Ticktum of Motopark to fifth by 0.055 seconds, with the Red Bull Junior being joined on row three by his team-mate Jonathan Aberdein, who had one of his best sessions of his rookie season so far.
Robert Shwartzman could not match his Prema team-mates and was forced to settle for seventh, although the Russian will be disappointed to fall so far after leading the way after the first set of runs.
Joining Shwartzman on row four will be Alex Palou of Hitech Grand Prix, while Jüri Vips of Motopark and Ben Hingeley of Hitech Grand Prix round out the top ten.
The third Hitech entry of Enaam Ahmed, who endured a tough weekend last time out at the Norisring, had a poor session and finished down in twenty-second, having crashed earlier in the day at Masterbocht.
Sophia Flörsch’s first Qualifying session the series saw her qualify twenty-third out of the twenty-four competitors for Van Amersfoort Racing, finishing ahead of Petru Florescu of Fortec Motorsports.
Ticktum set the best time of the day to take pole position for race two, with the Motopark driver’s lap of 1:28.779s knocking Aron into second by 0.171 seconds, while the Briton’s second fastest lap in the session was good enough to take pole for race three.
Schumacher will again line-up third for race two, with Palou in fourth ahead of Armstrong and Zhou, while Ferdinand Habsburg gave Carlin Motorsport something to cheer about by placing seventh ahead of the Motopark duo of Vips and Marino Sato, with Shwartzman rounding out the top ten.
Vips will join Ticktum on the front row as the grid was completely shuffled for the final race of the weekend thanks to two red flag periods, caused by Julian Hanses of ma-con after seven minutes and Habsburg in the closing moments.
Nikita Troitskiy will start third for Carlin in race three ahead of Zhou, who was the best placed of the Prema drivers in fourth, while Fabio Scherer of Motopark and Jehan Daruvala of Carlin share row three ahead of Sato, Palou, Habsburg and Aberdein.
Other than Zhou, there were poor results for the Prema quintet, with Shwartzman twelfth, Aron seventeenth, Schumacher eighteenth and Armstrong with a lot of work to do in twenty-third.