A late run by Mücke Motorsport’s Lucas Auer helped the Austrian to race one pole for the opening FIA European F3 race at the Hockenheimring this evening.
Jagonya with Carlin driver Antonio Giovinazzi joins Auer on the front row – his best qualifying position at European level – having led much of the latter half of the session.
With cool weather drawing in, Auer breached the top positions in the final five minutes with a 1:32.523s. He would improve by almost one-and-a-half tenths with less than two minutes remaining, demoting Giovinazzi.
Auer noted later that: “In free practice, we already noticed that we had a good speed. It is great that we were able to make use of this in qualifying and that I am now on pole position. Of course, I want to get the maximum out of the race tomorrow, so I would love to win, no matter what the weather conditions are.”
It marks a return to form for the Mucke team, who struggled throughout the opening race weekend at Silverstone two weeks ago, to which Auer commented: “A big hand to my team kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport and our engine partner Mercedes, because we have made a big step forward after the season opener at Silverstone.”
Yellow flags in the final moments of the session curtailed any chance of further fast laps in the field; however few seemed close to Auer’s pace.
Despite losing the top spot, Giovinazzi remained happy with the outcome. “Today has been a really good and strong day for me and for the team. We knew from this morning that the car had pace and that we would be able to do something here. I was on provisional pole until three minutes from the end so although it’s a shame to lose that I’m very happy with lining up second. Tomorrow, we aim to get off the line quickly, focus and see what happens.”
Ed Jones also impressed, with Dubai racer placing his Volkwagen-powered Carlin machine 3rd on the grid, just ahead of Van Amersfoort’s Max Verstappen. “Everything came together really well for me this afternoon and although we didn’t get the best out of things in free practice we more than made up for it in qualifying,” said the delighted Jones. He continued, “The track was much better to drive so that made my job a lot easier too. I think it’ll be very interesting tomorrow because we’re all very close but we have to get a good start and aim for that podium.”
Esteban Ocon was next, just two-thousandths shy of the second row, having topped the session with five minutes left; however the Frenchman could not improve on that effort. Tom Blomqvist made it three Carlin prepared cars in the top six, while Nicholas Latifi (Prema Powerteam, 7th) will partner Felix Rosenqvist (Mucke, 8th) for tomorrow’s opener.
John Bryant-Meisner (Fortec, 9th) and Jordan King (Carlin, 10th) fill out the fifth row. Antonio Fuoco endured a difficult qualifying, with the Ferrari youngster qualifying a disappointing 18th after he was repeatedly caught in traffic.
A large number of laptimes were deleted during the sessions, when drivers continued to breach track limits around turn one, despite a second pre-qualifying drivers meeting. Tatiana Calderon had qualified in 17th place, but will start from the back of the grid after she used a different engine from the previous round at Silverstone.
2014 FIA European F3 Championship (Rd 2, Qualifying 1; revised) Pos Driver Team Time 1. Lucas Auer Mucke-Mercedes 1:32.387 2. Antonio Giovinazzi Jagonya Ayam/Carlin-VW 1:32.505 3. Ed Jones Carlin-Volkswagen 1:32.547 4. Max Verstappen Van Amersfoort-Volkswagen 1:32.586 5. Esteban Ocon Prema Powerteam-Mercedes 1:32.588 6. Tom Blomqvist Jagonya Ayam/Carlin-VW 1:32.602 7. Nicholas Latifi Prema Powerteam-Mercedes 1:32.634 8. Felix Rosenqvist Mucke-Mercedes 1:32.688 9. John Bryant-Meisner Fortec-Mercedes 1:32.708 10. Jordan King Carlin-Volkswagen 1:32.740 11. Jake Dennis Carlin-Volkswagen 1:32.786 12. Mitch Gilbert Fortec-Mercedes 1:32.860 13. Felix Serralles Team West-Tec-Mercedes 1:32.916 14. Jules Szymkowiak Van Amersfoort-Volkswagen 1:33.041 15. Dennis van de Laar Prema Powerteam-Mercedes 1:33.042 16. Spike Goddard ThreeBond/T-Sport-NBE 1:33.183 17. Antonio Fuoco Prema Powerteam-Mercedes 1:33.233 18. Riccardo Agostini EuroInternational-Merc 1:33.236 19. Alexander Toril ThreeBond/T-Sport-NBE 1:33.252 20. Roy Nissany Mucke-Mercedes 1:33.278 21. Gustavo Menezes Van Amersfoort-Volkswagen 1:33.316 22. Sean Gelael Jagonya Ayam/Carlin-VW 1:33.496 23. Felipe Guimaraes Double R-Mercedes 1:33.780 24. Michele Beretta EuroInternational-Merc 1:33.818 25. Hector Hurst Team West-Tec-Mercedes 1:34.022 26. Sandro Zeller Zeller-Mercedes 1:34.074 27. Tatiana Calderon Zeller/Mucke-Mercedes 1:33.183*
Tatiana Calderon; 10-place grid drop (using different engine, following previous round).
Michele Beretta; 5-place grid drop, suspended (failed to manage track limits on several occasions).