Carlin racing driver Clement Novalak took his maiden British Formula 3 pole position for race one of the weekend at Snetterton after the British youngster beat Johnathan Hoggard by 44-thousandths of a second.
The session started slowly as the first meaningful laps came only after five minutes into the 20 minute qualifying session. It was Fortec Motorsports driver Johnathan Hoggard who set the early pace with a 1.46.891, a tenth clear of Josh Mason during the early stages. But the times started to drop thick and fast as the British F3 drivers were pushing the limits around the Norfolk circuit.
Then with 10-minutes to go, while Hoggard still remained on top, the Formula 4 graduate had drastically improved his time to a 1.43.663 to be four-tenths clear of Neil Verhagen, and Manuel Maldonado was a further eight tenths behind. But while Hoggard set the pace early on, current championship leader Clement Novalak was just biding his time and only appeared inside the top three with eight minutes to go.
On his next flying lap, Novalak found sufficient space and beat Hoggard’s pace-setting time of a 1.43.577 by 44-thousandths of a second to take pole position for race one at Snetterton. As with five minutes to go, his time would not be beaten, which means he started in the best possible place to further extend his championship lead.
Behind the top two, Kiern Jewiss managed a career-best third on the grid just ahead of Hampus Ericsson who is finding the Snetterton circuit to be much more to his liking than the twisty, undulating circuit at Oulton Park.
Then fifth to tenth was covered by just over half a second with Verhagen emerging with the best starting position, just ahead of testing time-topper Ayrton Simmons, who will be disappointed to line up only sixth. As will American racer Kaylen Frederick who took pole position in Oulton Park, but could only manage seventh at Snetterton. Behind him will be Maldonado, just ahead of the final Carlin of Lucas Petersson with early pace-setter Sasakorn Chaimongkol who ultimately qualifyied in tenth place.
Close behind, Benjamin Pedersen will line up in eleventh, with the second Chris Dittmann Racing car of Nazim Azman only able to manage twelfth place. But after impressing at Oulton Park, Ulyssee De Pauw failed to deliver at Snetterton and qualified just thirteenth ahead of Pavan Ravishankar, Kris Wright and Josh Mason who completed the 16-car field.
After an enthralling qualifying session at sunny Snetterton, the teams and drivers will be readying themselves for the first race of the weekend that kicks off at 15.15 this afternoon.