ART Grand Prix‘s Nikita Mazepin will start on pole position in the GP3 Series for the first time at his home track of Sochi Autodrom.
The Russian will be joined on the front row by Leonardo Pulcini with ART team-mate Callum Ilott completing the top three.
Jake Hughes led the field on track to get the running underway for the 30 minute session.
After two laps to warm up the tyres, the running got going in darkening conditions.
On the first timed laps it was home favourite Mazepin in the lead, ahead of his ART Grand Prix team-mates: Hughes, Ilott and championship leader Anthoine Hubert.
Simo Laaksonen slot himself into second, with Ryan Tveter moving into fourth.
On their next runs, the drivers managed to find more time with Hughes finding time but Mazepin returned to the top spot straight away.
Ilott, seemed to be struggling in comparison to his team-mates and could only manage fifth.
Tveter, having put in the best middle sector, moved himself up to the front row of the grid – missing pole by 0.031s.
Opting to run again, the ARTs traded ownership of the top spot with first Hughes then Mazepin and finally Hubert going quickest.
Ilott brought himself closer to his team-mates to be in fifth just behind Tveter.
At the half-way point of the session, the drivers returned to the pits to allow the drivers to regroup and take on fresh rubber.
With nine and a half minutes remaining, the drivers returned to track to get the action going once again.
After two laps to warm up the tyres, Hughes once again got the flying laps underway.
Mazepin managed to improve his time, to snatch pole from Hubert.
Ilott just behind his team-mates brought himself into fourth with Pulcini jumping into third.
David Beckmann had to pull over with smoke billowing out of his car meaning the German would not continue his run of poles.
On his final run Hughes, ran wide at Turn 2 and had to back out.
Mazepin pushing ran wide and almost hit the wall.
The Russian, ran wide on final corner but still claimed pole position.
Ilott had got himself into second, but Pulcini came through into second to demote the ART driver.
Behind, Giuliano Alesi ended up in fourth with Hubert in fifth.
Despite being the fastest man on track on the final run Tveter could only muster sixth.
Laaksonen, matched his best GP3 qualifying for seventh ahead of Richard Verschoor.
Joey Mawson and Hughes completed the top ten.
2018 GP3 Series Results: Sochi Autodrom – Qualifying
|1||3||Nikita Mazepin||RUS||ART Grand Prix||1m52.569|
|2||18||Leonardo Pulcini||ITA||Campos Racing||+0.017|
|3||1||Callum Ilott||GBR||ART Grand Prix||+0.086|
|5||2||Anthoine Hubert||FRA||ART Grand Prix||+0.229|
|7||19||Simo Laaksonen||FIN||Campos Racing||+0.275|
|8||22||Richard Verschoor||NED||MP Motorsport||+0.296|
|9||16||Joey Mawson||AUS||Arden International||+0.609|
|10||4||Jake Hughes||GBR||ART Grand Prix||+0.649|
|12||10||Juan Manuel Correa||USA||Jenzer Motorsport||+0.793|
|13||15||Sacha Fenestraz||FRA||Arden International||+0.866|
|14||9||Tatiana Calderon||COL||Jenzer Motorsport||+1.092|
|16||23||Devlin DeFrancesco||CAN||MP Motorsport||+1.423|
|17||14||Gabriel Aubry||FRA||Arden International||+1.438|
|18||20||Diego Menchaca||MEX||Campos Racing||+2.045|
|19||11||Jannes Fittje||DEU||Jenzer Motorsport||+2.277|