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“FIA F3: A double-pole for Ocon at Pau”

May 10, 2014

Ocon took two more poles at Pau. © FIA.

Ocon took two more poles at Pau. © FIA.

Prema Powerteam’s Esteban Ocon secured a double-pole series in today’s 2nd qualifying session for the 73rd Pau Grand Prix.

The Frenchman will line up with yet another Mücke Motorsport car alongside him on the front row, with Felix Rosenqvist heading Max Verstappen (van Amersfoort).

As with yesterday, Ocon and Verstappen dominated ‘Group A’ (for cars with even numbers). Where many in the first group registered laps in the 1’11-range, the leading pair were quick to break that barrier, with the French Ocon setting a 1:10.587 after eight minutes. Verstappen immediately improved on that time by two-tenths, only for Ocon to go another tenth faster on his following tour.

Thereafter both drivers continued to improve their pace, but Verstappen was never quite able to topple Ocon – his best of 1:10.192s eventually proved too much for Verstappen who was a mere 0.057s shy of pole.
Ocon was understandably delighted with the result. “Once again, my car was great. I did two good laps that were closer to the limit than in first qualifying. I knew that this was what I had to do, because the track was better for the second group. Eventually, it was really close with Felix Rosenqvist, but it was enough. So far, the weekend has been perfect for me, but there are still two races to go and I have to do my utmost.”

Jake Dennis once again underlined his improvement by clocking up the 3rd fastest time. The Carlin driver spent almost the entire session following Ocon and Verstappen in the times, but was always several tenths shy. The Briton would eventually record a quickest lap of 1:10.647, earning Dennis a two-tenths advantage over Dennis van de Laar.
While not perfect, Dennis knows places can be gained in the race itself. “It’s alright for us, we started fifth this morning for the first race and we gained a position so I know we can do something from there. I have a better set of tyres for tomorrow too so that’s a positive and although overtaking is very hard here I think we can move forward and get a podium. We can definitely be pleased because it’s another solid qualifying and we’re closing the gap to those ahead.”

John Bryant-Meisner, Ed Jones and Gustavo Menezes were the next fastest in ‘Group A’, while Tatiana Calderon assumed the 8th quickest time; however her session ended with four minutes remaining, when he clipped the barrier going through Foch.

The temperatures dipped slightly for the second session. Both Rosenqvist and teammate Lucas Auer were immediately on the pace, with the former heading the times after eight minutes after registering a best of 1:10.767.
Auer beat that effort by one-tenth moments later, only for Rosenqvist to pull together a tour two-tenths quicker upon his next tour. Rosenqvist went quicker still on his next lap, clocking up a circuit in 1:10.197; a time some three-and-a-half tenths up on the next quickest driver come the chequered flag.

In the end, that would not be Auer. The Austrian hit a brick wall of pace in the final third of qualifying and could not improve on his top lap of 1:10.615; dropping Auer down to 6th in the group. Instead Tom Blomqvist (Jagonya Ayam Carlin) was the next man on the time sheets, following a late qualifying battle with Antonio Giovinazzi, Mitch Gilbert and Jordan King; all of whom jumped Auer before the flag.
Like his Carlin stablemate Dennis, Blomqvist is well aware that he needs to capitalise from the line. “I’m hoping to get a good start as that is really the best place that you can gain and lose positions. We’re looking to capitalise from there and see how it goes. We have a little bit of time still to find but I think if we stay out of trouble and make no mistakes we can have another good race.”

Following a good performance in the first qualifying session, Latifi could do not better than 7th, placing him above Felix Serralles and Antonio Fuoco in the order.
Spike Goddard showed some positive improvements in this session and was running in the top-sic for a time; however a late session crash at Foch curtailed his running, giving the T-Sport mechanics much to do on a Saturday night.

At this time, Ocon is on pole for race three, with Rosenqvist and Verstappen once again lining up behind the Frenchman.

FIA President Jean Todt visited with FIA Single-Seater Commission President Gerhard Berger. © FIA.

FIA President Jean Todt visited with FIA Single-Seater Commission President Gerhard Berger. © FIA.

2014 FIA European F3 Championship (Rd 3, Provisional Grid Race 2, Pau)
Pos Driver               Team              Time / Gap
 1. Esteban Ocon         Prema Powerteam-Mercedes        1:10.192
 2. Felix Rosenqvist     Mucke-Mercedes                  1:10.197
 3. Max Verstappen       Van Amersfoort-Volkswagen       1:10.249
 4. Tom Blomqvist        Jagonya Ayam Carlin-Volkswagen  1:10.547
 5. Jake Dennis          Carlin-Volkswagen               1:10.647
 6. Antonio Giovinazzi   Jagonya Ayam Carlin-Volkswagen  1:10.561
 7. Dennis van de Laar   Prema Powerteam-Mercedes        1:10.841
 8. Mitch Gilbert        Fortec-Mercedes                 1:10.579
 9. John Bryant-Meisner  Fortec-Mercedes                 1:11.141
10. Jordan King          Carlin-Volkswagen               1:10.599
11. Ed Jones             Carlin-Volkswagen               1:11.242
12. Lucas Auer           Mucke-Mercedes                  1:10.613
13. Sean Gelael          Jagonya Ayam Carlin-Volkswagen  1:11.244
14. Nicholas Latifi      Prema Powerteam-Mercedes        1:10.667
15. Gustavo Menezes      Van Amersfoort-Volkswagen       1:11.289
16. Felix Serralles      West-Tec-Mercedes               1:10.758
17. Tatiana Calderon     Jo Zeller-Mercedes              1:11.407
18. Antonio Fuoco        Prema Powerteam-Mercedes        1:10.806
19. Felipe Guimaraes     Double R-Mercedes               1:11.458
20. Riccardo Agostini    EuroInternational-Mercedes      1:10.808
21. Alexander Toril      ThreeBond T-Sport-NBE           1:11.839
22. Spike Goddard        ThreeBond T-Sport-NBE           1:10.826
23. Michele Beretta      EuroInternational-Mercedes      1:12.062
24. Jules Szymkowiak     Van Amersfoort-Volkswagen       1:11.379
25. Hector Hurst         West-Tec-Mercedes               1:12.287
26. Roy Nissany          Mucke-Mercedes                  1:12.617
2014 FIA European F3 Championship (Rd 3, Provisional Grid Race 3, Pau)
Pos Driver               Team              Time / Gap
 1. Esteban Ocon         Prema Powerteam-Mercedes        1:10.265
 2. Felix Rosenqvist     Mucke-Mercedes                  1:10.300
 3. Max Verstappen       Van Amersfoort-Volkswagen       1:10.315
 4. Tom Blomqvist        Jagonya Ayam Carlin-Volkswagen  1:10.603
 5. Jake Dennis          Carlin-Volkswagen               1:10.828
 6. Mitch Gilbert        Fortec-Mercedes                 1:10.614
 7. Dennis van de Laar   Prema Powerteam-Mercedes        1:10.930
 8. Lucas Auer           Mucke-Mercedes                  1:10.639
 9. John Bryant-Meisner  Fortec-Mercedes                 1:11.251
10. Antonio Giovinazzi   Jagonya Ayam Carlin-Volkswagen  1:10.691
11. Gustavo Menezes      Van Amersfoort-Volkswagen       1:11.289
12. Jordan King          Carlin-Volkswagen               1:10.722
13. Ed Jones             Carlin-Volkswagen               1:11.400
14. Nicholas Latifi      Prema Powerteam-Mercedes        1:10.801
15. Sean Gelael          Jagonya Ayam Carlin-Volkswagen  1:11.437
16. Riccardo Agostini    EuroInternational-Mercedes      1:10.959
17. Felipe Guimaraes     Double R-Mercedes               1:11.574
18. Antonio Fuoco        Prema Powerteam-Mercedes        1:10.092
19. Tatiana Calderon     Jo Zeller-Mercedes              1:11.624
20. Felix Serralles      West-Tec-Mercedes               1:10.423
21. Alexander Toril      ThreeBond T-Sport-NBE           1:11.916
22. Spike Goddard        ThreeBond T-Sport-NBE           1:10.425
23. Michele Beretta      EuroInternational-Mercedes      1:12.138
24. Jules Szymkowiak     Van Amersfoort-Volkswagen       1:11.780
25. Hector Hurst         West-Tec-Mercedes               1:12.400
26. Roy Nissany          Mucke-Mercedes                  1:12.639
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