F3: Collet masters dramatic wet-to-dry Spa qualifying to secure maiden pole
Caio Collet’s Spa-Francorchamps weekend got off to the perfect start, as the Alpine junior stormed to his first Formula 3 pole position in what proved to be a late thriller.
A wet-dry track saw the drivers fight to be last to the line, and despite a flurry of last-second improvements, it was the Brazilian driver who came out on top to become the seventh different driver to take pole in as many rounds.
Zane Maloney put himself on the front row for the second Feature Race in a row, whilst Francesco Pizzi was the surprise of the session, taking full advantage of track evolution to take third – his previous best was 19th.
While the top three would have been smiling, the title contenders endured a difficult afternoon. Having led the way initially in the wet conditions, Oliver Bearman had to settle for eighth after struggling to match his early pace.
His team mate Jak Crawford wasn’t so lucky, with the Red Bull junior bringing out the Red Flag after 10 minutes of running by beaching himself in the gravel trap. Sitting right on the crossover between wets and slicks, the whole field opted to make the gamble and it seemed to pay off, as seven drivers traded turns at the top of the timing sheets.
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The action showed no signs of stopping in spite of the chequered flag and it was Collet who saved his best till last, clocking in a 2m 11.289s to go over two-tenths clear of Maloney and Pizzi. In his second F3 round, Oliver Goethe secured fourth, whilst Trident got all three of their cars into the top three with Roman Stanek qualifying ahead of Jonny Edgar, Franco Colapinto, Brad Benavides and Juan Manuel Correa.
A calamitous afternoon for the top three in the title fight saw Arthur Leclerc lead the trio down in P20, with the Ferrari Academy driver lining up ahead of Isack Hadjar and Victor Martins, who’ll be starting from P23 and P24 respectively.
Williams junior Zak O’Sullivan will be hunting down a maiden victory as he finds himself on reverse grid pole for Saturday’s Sprint Race when the lights go out at 1035 local time.