Abt flies to first pole on home ground in Hockenheim
(L to R) Evans, Abt, and Daly
Qualifying for Round 5 of the GP3 Series in Hockenheim was a closely fought contest but it was home favorite, Daniel Abt who came out on top and achieved his first pole of his rookie season!
After rain had fallen on Friday, conditions for qualifying were dry and warm with dark clouds hovering over the circuit threatening to spoil the party. Germany’s Abt was first onto track as the field set their installation laps. After ten minutes, it was Series leader Mitch Evans heading the timings over Antonio Felix Da Costa and Giovanni Venturini.
Marussia Manor Racing’s Tio Ellinas went P1 at the midway point with Abt up to P2 until his Lotus GP teammate Conor Daly put in a flier to go top. There was a spectacular moment for Dmitry Suranovich who after running wide, was sent briefly airborne but the Russian was able to continue on with his qualifying lap unscathed.
Daly further improved on his lap time to enhance his advantage at the front but Evans soon put a stop to that with three minutes remaining to claim provisional pole. With all the local support behind him, Abt was a man on a mission to please his fan base and produced a lap time of 1:31.961, to secure pole position in his homeland and become the only driver to break into the 1.31s barrier.
Evans will join Abt on the front row with Daly and Ellinas on row two. Aaro Vainio qualified fifth but will line up in 15th place after a ten place grid penalty from Silverstone. Felix Da Costa was P6, ahead of David Fumanelli and Patric Niederhauser. Marlon Stockinger qualified P9 but like Vainio has a ten place grid penalty. Kevin Ceccon completes the top ten.
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