Ilott claims maiden pole in Spielberg qualifying

Callum Ilott clinched his first GP3 Series pole position during the Qualifying session at Spielberg, Austria, pipping ART Grand Prix teammate Jake Hughes to top spot with a 1:19.209 lap in the final stages of the session. Hughes secured his highest qualifying result of the season with second, with Trident’s Alessio Lorandi taking third place.

Unlike the morning’s practice, the session began in dry, overcast conditions; at the start, Ilott led ART stablemates Anthoine Hubert, Nikita Mazepin and Hughes out onto the Red Bull Ring. The running began inauspiciously for the Ferrari Academy driver – Ilott went off at turn 1 on his first flying lap – to let Hubert clock the quickest time on the opening cycle of runs.

Ilott soon hit back, becoming the first to reach the 1m19s in the session, with Pedro Piquet (Trident) and Joey Mawson (Arden International) filtering in just behind the British driver. Mazepin then popped up onto the top of the timing boards before Ilott whittled the pace down further, finding a 1:19.630 ahead of the field electing to switch tires in the middle of the session.

Jenzer Motorsport’s Juan Manuel Correa got the running back underway, with Ilott once more taking the initiative and reopening the phase of hot laps in the final ten minutes. Ryan Tveter – who topped the morning’s Free Practice session – quickly threatened and elevated himself into second, but Ilott extended his advantage over the Trident driver before Mazepin returned to head the times.

Hughes then assumed control of the session in its final stages before Ilott was able to wrest back provisional pole, going half a tenth faster than his teammate to set a 1:19.209. The session was then quickly red-flagged, as Hubert – who had sustained a huge wide moment at turn 10 on his hot lap – came to a halt on the track at the exit of turn 6, requiring a tow away from the marshals. With just under two minutes left on the clock, the session was not restarted – cementing Ilott’s first GP3 pole.

Completing an all-ART front row, Hughes was 0.03s faster than Trident’s Alessio Lorandi, who starts from the second row alongside countryman Leonardo Pulcini. Mazepin begins Saturday’s race from fifth ahead of Piquet, with previous polesitter Dorian Boccolacci qualifying seventh to beat Tveter. French duo Gabriel Aubry and Giuliano Alesi complete the top ten.

As current series leader Hubert starts from 19th on the grid, all eyes will be on him to fight back through the field in Saturday’s Race 1, while the battle for victory should be hotly contested – with plenty of close racing expected at the Red Bull Ring.

2018 GP3 Series Round 3 – Spielberg, Austria – Provisional Qualifying Classification

Pos

Driver

Team

Time

Laps

1

Callum Ilott

ART Grand Prix

1:19.209

15

2

Jake Hughes

ART Grand Prix

1:19.246

15

3

Alessio Lorandi

Trident

1:19.276

16

4

Leonardo Pulcini

Campos Racing

1:19.344

15

5

Nikita Mazepin

ART Grand Prix

1:19.351

15

6

Pedro Piquet

Trident

1:19.400

14

7

Dorian Boccolacci

MP Motorsport

1:19.453

16

8

Ryan Tveter

Trident

1:19.487

16

9

Gabriel Aubry

Arden International

1:19.502

15

10

Giuliano Alesi

Trident

1:19.549

15

11

Juan Manuel Correa

Jenzer Motorsport

1:19.592

16

12

Simo Laaksonen

Campos Racing

1:19.606

15

13

Joey Mawson

Arden International

1:19.718

15

14

David Beckmann

Jenzer Motorsport

1:19.782

15

15

Diego Menchaca

Campos Racing

1:19.807

15

16

Niko Kari

MP Motorsport

1:19.902

16

17

Tatiana Calderon

Jenzer Motorsport

1:19.974

15

18

Julien Falchero

Arden International

1:19.995

15

19

Anthoine Hubert

ART Grand Prix

1:20.003

14

20

Devlin DeFrancesco

MP Motorsport

1:20.191

13

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