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F2: Pourchaire takes crucial pole at Monza as he hunts 2023 title

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MONZA, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 01: Pole position qualifier Theo Pourchaire of France and ART Grand Prix

Theo Pourchaire secured his second pole position of the season with ART Grand Prix at Monza, and his first since the season-opening round back in Sakhir, giving his title aspirations a big boost in the process.

The championship leader set a 1m 32.328s on his first runs, which proved good enough for the top spot on the Feature Race grid. Oliver Bearman secured a place on the front row in P2, 0.159s back from the pole-sitter.

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Trident’s Roman Stanek was one of the only drivers to find improvement on their final laps to shoot up the order to third on the grid. It represents the Czech driver’s best qualifying result of his rookie campaign.

Hitech Pulse-Eight’s Isack Hadjar secured P4, the Red Bull Junior Team driver edging ahead of Pourchaire’s team mate Victor Martins, who led the way earlier in the session. The Alpine Academy junior was quickest of all after the first laps, but lost a subsequent faster effort for exceeding track limits at Turn 7. It left Martins fifth on the grid for the Feature Race.

The final minutes of qualifying were tense, with nobody wanting to lead the queue and punch a hole in the air to provide a slipstream to those behind. That jostling left several drivers out of time to start their final flying laps.

Kush Maini was one to miss the cut and take the chequered flag, but his earlier efforts were good enough to secure sixth for Campos Racing, ahead of Hitech Pulse Eight and Red Bull junior Jak Crawford.

Pourchaire’s closest championship challenger, PREMA Racing and Mercedes Junior Team driver Frederik Vesti, ended up eighth in qualifying. The Dane finished ahead of Van Amersfoort Racing’s Richard Verschoor and Campos’s Ralph Boschung, who made a late improvement to take 10th and reverse grid pole for the Sprint Race with it.

For a full report on the F2 Monza qualifying session, visit the official website here.

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