Leclerc flies to fourth pole in Sepang

Charles Leclerc
Charles Leclerc

Scuderia Ferrari Team Development driver Charles Leclerc pocketed his fourth pole of the 2016 GP3 season in a 1:49.861. The Monegasque was the only driver to lap in the 1m49’s after a closely fought contest for the coveted pole and four bonus points attached. His title rival and teammate Alexander Albon will join him on the front row. Nyck de Vries completed an all ART-GP top three.

Blue skies and scorching temperatures set the scene for the 30 minute qualifying session for Round 8 of the Series, with the category making its maiden visit to the Sepang International Circuit. Leclerc set the initial pace before Albon improved to take P1. Shortly after, Arden International’s Jake Dennis split the ART GP duo to go second before De Vries shot into P2. Albon was pushing hard and ran wide, failing to better his time.

As the drivers returned the pitlane to switch to new Pirelli rubber and make set-up adjustments, Koiranen GP’s Matthew Parry had the Sepang track to himself and posted the second fastest time of the session. De Vries then took provisional pole by 0.142s with eight minutes remaining.

As the clock ticked down, Dennis lit sectors 1 and 2 in purple but failed to improve on his overall lap time, while Campos Racing Alex’s Palou found some extra pace to go straight to the head of the timings. This lasted only briefly before Leclerc went fastest in sector three and flew to the top of the timesheet to lock in provisional pole.

Albon did his best to beat his teammate but had to settle for second place, with De Vries in third. Jack Aitken, Palou, Nirei Fukuzumi, Arjun Maini (Jenzer Motorsport), Sandy Stuvik (Trident), Dennis and Steijn Schothorst completed the top ten.

Race 1 (19 laps) takes place tomorrow at 10.30 am (GMT+8) with the GP3 field eager to race around the Sepang International Circuit for the very first time.

Qualifying*

Pos

Driver

Team

Laptime

Laps

1.

Charles Leclerc

ART Grand Prix

1:49.861

13

2.

Alexander Albon

ART Grand Prix

1:50.030

13

3.

Nyck de Vries

ART Grand Prix

1:50.192

14

4.

Jack Aitken

Arden International

1:50.218

13

5.

Alex Palou

Campos Racing

1:50.371

13

6.

Nirei Fukuzumi*

ART Grand Prix

1:50.430

13

7.

Arjun Maini

Jenzer Motorsport

1:50.503

13

8.

Sandy Stuvik

Trident

1:50.533

14

9.

Jake Dennis

Arden International

1:50.698

14

10.

Steijn Schothorst

Campos Racing

1:50.717

13

11.

Antonio Fuoco

Trident

1:50.733

14

12.

Akash Nandy

Jenzer Motorsport

1:50.749

14

13.

Matthew Parry

Koiranen GP

1:50.781

15

14.

Santino Ferrucci

DAMS

1:50.783

12

15.

Alessio Lorandi

Jenzer Motorsport

1:50.831

13

16.

Kevin Jorg

DAMS

1:51.047

12

17.

Jake Hughes

DAMS

1:51.084

12

18.

Giuliano Alesi

Trident

1:51.184

12

19.

Matevos Isaakyan

Koiranen GP

1:51.426

12

20.

Tatiana Calderon

Arden International

1:51.456

13

21.

Konstantin Tereschenko

Campos Racing

1:51.679

12

22.

Artur Janosz

Trident

1:51.881

13

*Fukuzumi has a three place grid penalty following an incident in Monza Race 2

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