Formula 3

Daruvala snatches pole at Spa for PREMA

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Jehan Daruvala - PREMA Racing at the 2019 FIA Formula 3 Championship - Spa-Francorchamps - Practice
Credit: FIA Formula 3

Jehan Daruvala kept his FIA Formula 3 Championship title hopes on track by taking pole positon for the first race of the weekend at Spa.

The Indian driver was seventh at the end of the first run, as Pedro Piquet slotted his Trident to top spot on a 2:05.736 from his team-mate Devlin DeFrancesco. Championship-leader Robert Shwartzman was third, with Leonardo Pulcini and Jake Hughes rounding out the top five going into their final runs.

The top twelve with ten minutes to go were separated by under a second but that would soon change. Giorgio Carrara was the first driver of all to complete his first representative lap on his final run to temporarily go twelfth ahead of Hungary pole-sitter and race-winner Christian Lundgaard.

As the top of the timing pages was changing ever so quickly, Daruvala moved himself up to pole, while some of the other drivers were preparing for last-gasp efforts to take it away from him. His team-mate Marcus Armstrong decided not to do that however, which his gamble would ultimately backfire. The Kiwi had dropped down the order to a disastrous nineteenth, leaving his title challenge firmly on the line.

The only incident occurred when Lirim Zendeli ran into the back of Sebastián Fernández whilst the majority of the drivers were trying to find track position. The German’s broken front wing and the missed chance of a final flying lap left him on the back row of the grid in twenty-ninth.

Hardly any improvement was made by those who had crossed the line before the chequered flag, thus Daruvala adds four points to his championship total and reducing the gap to sixteen points to team-mate Shwartzman going into tomorrow morning’s race. Yuki Tsunoda salvaged his best qualifying position of the campaign with third in front of the Russian.

Race 1 begins at 10:35 on Saturday (GMT+2).

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