F3: Marti seizes pole late on at Spa to improve title hopes
Josep Maria Marti kept his slim Formula 3 title hopes intact, taking a crucial second pole position of the year at Spa-Francorchamps. The Campos Racing driver timed his final lap to perfection, taking the top spot with a 2m 22.160s to secure pole by just 0.016s ahead of Trident’s Leonardo Fornaroli.
It was a decisive lap, with the championship potentially being decided this round. Points leader Gabriel Bortoleto arrived in Belgium with a 43-point lead in the standings, only needing an advantage of 40 after Sunday’s Feature Race to be crowned champion.
The Brazilian was 12th going into the last minute of qualifying and set for reverse grid pole. But, as the track continued to improve and rivals behind went quicker, he fell down the order and will start both races from 15th on the grid.
Hitech Pulse-Eight and Alpine Academy driver Gabriele Mini was third quickest ahead of MP Motorsport’s Franco Colapinto, who leapt inside the top five on his last flying lap. ART Grand Prix’s Nikola Tsolov completed the top five with the best qualifying result of his rookie campaign.
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Second in the standings, Zak O’Sullivan had been on provisional pole but fell to sixth by the end of the session, narrowly ahead of PREMA Racing team mate Dino Beganovic.
MP Motorsport’s Jonny Edgar, Van Amersfoort Racing driver Caio Collet and Jenzer Motorsport’s Taylor Barnard completed the top 10.
PREMA and Mercedes Junior Team driver Paul Aron finished up 11th, while Campos will have a driver on pole in both races, as Hugh Barter leads the pack from reverse grid pole for the Sprint.
For an in-depth report of the FIA Formula 3 qualifying session, visit the official F3 website.