GP3: Jakes grabs pole at Hockenheim Manor Racing’s James Jakes has claimed his first GP3 Series pole position in a dramatic wet qualifying session at Hockenheimring this morning.
The British driver posted his quickest time of 1:46.559 on his last flying lap putting him four tenths of a second ahead of second place man Status GP’s Robert Wickens. The exciting session in Germany was the first wet qualifying this season making it a challenging session for the 30 GP3 drivers, with many struggling to get to grips with the slippery conditions at turn 1.
It was RSC Mucke Motorsport’s Renger van der Zande who set the early pace straight out the box. The Dutch driver was unmatched for the first half of the session, only briefly being knocked off the top spot by MW Arden’s Michael Christensen. Jenzer Motorsport’s Nico Muller and Christensen’s teammate Leonardo Cordeiro were also on a good pace in the opening minutes of the session.
At the half way marker the drivers seemed to have found their rhythm and the times started to drop. ART Grand Prix’s Esteban Gutierrez and Wickens were soon to join the fight for pole position, along with Manor Racing’s Quaife-Hobbs. Gutierrez held the top spot for the middle of the session fending off the rest of the field. Carlin drivers Dean Smith and Josef Newgarden were the next drivers to join the fray, but it was the final few minutes of the session as the track got dryer when the battle really begun.
Wickens set the target for the rest of the field, and was soon swapping fastest laps with Jakes. The last minute of the session saw the top spot continually changing, and it looked like Roberto Merhi was going to claim the top spot for Atech CRS GP when he piped Jakes on his last flying lap. But the Spaniard wasn’t the only driver on a flyer and in the next few seconds Wickens and then Jakes took the honors.
By the time the checkered flag dropped Josef Newgarden had put his Carlin car in third spot behind Jakes and Wickens pushing Merhi down into fourth. Adrian Quaife-Hobbs took fifth spot followed by Christensen in sixth. Tech 1 Racing’s Daniel Juncadella put his #28 car in seventh spot and early pace setter van der Zande ended up in eight. Rounding out the top ten were the final Manor Racing car of Rio Haryanto and Series leader Gutierrez.
However, twenty-one penalties picked up during yesterday’s practice session will certainly affect this morning’s results and Jakes will probably not maintain his pole position.
The action continues later today at 17:20 local time with Race 1.
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