Jack Doohan kept his title hopes alive by taking pole, and the four points that come with it, to set up a potentially thrilling championship finale with championship leader and rival Dennis Hauger only qualifying in ninth.
Doohan took his second pole of the season ahead of his Trident teammate, Clément Novalak. The Frenchman would settle for a place on the front row ahead of Jonathan Hoggard both of whom achieving their best qualifying in FIA Formula 3 to date.
Meanwhile, news broke during the session the first race of the weekend which would usually be held on a Saturday morning had been brought forward to Friday due to the uncertain weather forecast for the night and the morning.
By the time the drivers had a go at qualifying the track temperature had doubled to thirty-three degrees and the track had evolved due to the fact that all three of Formula 3, FIA Formula 2 and Formula 1 using the track this weekend.
Trailing Hauger in the Drivers’ standings by 43 points with three races to go, it was imperative that Doohan got pole position to ensure that the Australian would get the best run down to turn 1 but a red flag would interrupt his attempt at setting the fastest lap.
There was a rare wide moment from Hauger when action resumed, with the PREMA Racing driver struggling to warm up his rubber -something which has been a bit of a recurring theme for the Italian team in the last few races. That was good news for Doohan, who made the most of his times setting a lap time of 1:54.927.
After a quick pitstop for fresh new tyres, the Australian would improve once again to put no doubt in anyone’s mind about who was the fastest driver this time setting a time of 1:54.514.
Hoggard then slid into position ahead of Frederik Vesti and into third for what could potentially be his highest ever starting position, as everyone set off for one final lap of the Sochi Autodrom.
Perhaps surprisingly, there were very few improvements in the dying stages, but the pecking order was updated after the chequered flag. That put Doohan atop the time-sheets, with, Novalak was second ahead of Hoggard and Vesti. Juan Manuel Correa was impressive and notched his best Qualifying result to date in fifth place ahead of previous race-winner Lorenzo Colombo and home hero Alex Smolyar.
The man who was fastest in practice : Caio Collet was eighth ahead of Hauger, who managed to claw his way into the top tenth after a decent lap in the latter stages of the session. Jak Crawford was 10th, ahead of Logan Sargeant and Victor Martins who will start race 1 on pole position.
|3||Johnathan Hoggard||GBR||Jenzer Motorsport||1m54.687|
|4||Frederik Vesti||DEN||ART Grand Prix||1m54.712|
|5||Juan Manuel Correa||USA||ART Grand Prix||1m54.755|
|6||Lorenzo Colombo||ITA||Campos Racing||1m54.759|
|7||Aleksandr Smolyar||RUS||ART Grand Prix||1m54.765|
|8||Caio Collet||BRA||MP Motorsport||1m54.722|
|9||Dennis Hauger||NOR||Prema Racing||1m54.826|
|10||Jak Crawford||USA||Hitech Grand Prix||1m54.853|
|11||Logan Sargeant||USA||Charouz Racing System||1m54.859|
|12||Victor Martins||FRA||MP Motorsport||1m54.959|
|13||Roman Stanek||CZH||Hitech Grand Prix||1m54.977|
|14||Arthur Leclerc||MON||Prema Racing||1m55.089|
|15||Olli Caldwell||GBR||Prema Racing||1m55.151|
|16||Oliver Rasmussen||DEN||HWA Racelab||1m55.166|
|18||Ayumu Iwasa||JPN||Hitech Grand Prix||1m55.302|
|19||Matteo Nannini||ITA||HWA Racelab||1m55.419|
|20||Armaury Cordeel||BEL||Campos Racing||1m55.466|
|21||Calan Williams||AUS||Jenzer Motorsport||1m55.503|
|23||Rafael Villagomez||MEX||HWA Racelab||1m56.007|
|24||Filip Ugran||ROM||Jenzer Motorsport||1m56.263|
|25||Tijmen van der Helm||NED||MP Motorsport||1m56.525|
|26||Ayrton Simmons||USA||Charouz Racing System||1m56.527|
|27||László Tóth||HUN||Campos Racing||1m56.600|
|29||Zdeněk Chovanec||POR||Charouz Racing System||1m57.164|