Prema Powerteam’s Jake Dennis claimed his first FIA European F3 pole position in desperately changeable conditions at Pau today.
Monegasque racer Charles Leclerc will start alongside Dennis on the front row, while Antonio Giovinazzi and Maximilian Günther solidified the second row for Carlin and Mücke respectively.
Swapping from wet to dry and then to heavy rain, before dry conditions re-emerged, the field had their many talents tested, although the tight confines of the Pau streets meant qualifying had been split into two groups – Group A for even numbered cars and Group B for odd numbered cars.
In the latter session, wet weather dominated the early minutes; however it dried significantly enough toward the tail of qualifying to allow an already feisty Dennis to set a quickest lap well over one second faster than Leclerc in opening qualifying.
It wasn’t always on the cards however, as Günther proved the top man for much of Group B. A crash by Ryan Tveter brought out a brief red flag with the dry setting in thereafter. From mid-table, Dennis shot to the top of the rankings, with Dennis improving once again when Günther threatened.
In what was yet another impressive performance, Günther narrowly pipped Callum Ilott and Alessio Lorandi for the outside of rows two-to-four, with just one-tenth covering the trio.
Leclerc was as dominant as Dennis in Group A, with the van Amersfoort man claiming top spot in that group by almost half-a-second ahead of Giovinazzi. While not leading throughout Group A, the Monegasque race was nip-and-tuck with eth top spot from start to finish in a session broken up by occasional showers.
Come the chequered flag, Leclerc headed Giovinazzi, with Lotus F1 junior Alex Albon finishing the session in 3rd to claim 6th on the grid. Mikkel Jensen continued his positive start to take 4th in Group A, but the real surprise was Arjun Maini. The Indian lingered around the top three for much of Group A, but fell to the 5th row by the end.
The shock of the session came for Felix Rosenqvist who could do no better than 7th in Group A, to claim 14th on the grid.
With only 32 slots available on the grid, unfortunately neither Mahaveer Raghunathan nor Nicolas Pohler could qualify for Race One. Raghunathan was over 0.8s shy of next quickest (Kang Ling), while Pohler ended the session over 2.3s slower than Markus Pömmer.