Daruvala snatches pole at Spa for PREMA

by Tom Cairns
Jehan Daruvala - PREMA Racing at the 2019 FIA Formula 3 Championship - Spa-Francorchamps - Practice

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).

2019 FIA Formula 3 Championship Classification: Spa-Francorchamps - Qualifying

127Jehan DaruvalaINDPREMA Racing2:05.125
218Pedro PiquetBRATrident+0.231
314Yuki TsunodaJAPJenzer Motorsport+0.415
428Robert ShwartzmanRUSPREMA Racing+0.480
511Jake HughesGBRHWA Racelab+0.489
621Jüri VipsESTHitech Grand Prix+0.500
717Devlin DeFrancescoCANTrident+0.515
820Leonardo PulciniITAHitech Grand Prix+0.576
931Logan SargeantUSACarlin Buzz Racing+0.584
104Liam LawsonNZLMP Motorsport+0.935
1123Alex PeroniAUSCampos Racing+1.062
122Max FewtrellGBRART Grand Prix+1.082
136Richard VerschoorNEDMP Motorsport+1.130
143Christian LundgaardDENART Grand Prix+1.145
1522Ye YifeiCHIHitech Grand Prix+1.149
1610Bent ViscaalNEDHWA Racelab+1.164
171David BeckmannGERART Grand Prix+1.208
1815Giorgio CarraraARGJenzer Motorsport+1.271
1926Marcus ArmstrongNZLPREMA Racing+1.275
2029Teppei NatoriJAPCarlin Buzz Racing+1.295
2119Niko KariFINTrident+1.350
2212Keyvan AndresIRAHWA Racelab+1.412
2330Felipe DrugovichBRACarlin Buzz Racing+1.481
249Raoul HymanRSASauber Junior Team by Charouz+1.489
2525Sebastián FernándezVENCampos Racing+2.126
2616Andreas EstnerGERJenzer Motorsport+2.350
275Simo LaaksonenFINMP Motorsport+2.378
288Fabio SchererSWISauber Junior Team by Charouz+2.889
297Lirim ZendeliGERSauber Junior Team by Charouz+2.951
3024Alessio DeleddaITACampos Racing+3.773

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