The first ever qualifying sessions for the new Eurocup-3 championship took place at a wet Spa-Francorchamps on Friday afternoon, and MP Motorsport’s Mari Boya was the driver to beat.
Only three drivers had put laps on the timesheet in the first half of the 15-minte Q1, which set the grid for the series’ inaugural race, when MP’s Sebastian Ogaard struck trouble and the session was red flagged.
He was fastest at that point, having set a 2m27.042s, with a 0.275-second advantahe to team-mate Bruno del Pino. Although there was actually a larger group of drivers that crossed the line, many had their first laptimes deleted for track limits violations.
Q1 resumed with 7m18s left on the clock, but it was not until the final two-and-a-half minutes that laptimes were set.
Campos Racing’s Suleiman Zanfari was first to, going 6.385s faster than Ogaard, then Drivex School’s Pierre-Louis Chovet crossed the line 1.385s faster than him.
They were shuffled down to fifth and sixth as more drivers crossed the line, with Boya going to the top with a 2m18.041s while Drivex’s Nick Gilkes was sent to the bottom for exceeding track limits. Campos duo Esteban Masson and Tasanapol Inthraphuvasak then suffered the same punishment, with Masson’s lap having been good enough for third.
There was time for one or two more laps, depending on where the drivers were around the long Spa lap, and Masson and Inthraphuvasak went one-two just before the chequered flag waved while Global Racing Service’s Cenyu Han rose to fourth place.
Boya finished his lap and was 0.528s faster than Masson, with del Pino jumping from ninth to third with a time marginally slower than Masson’s. Nobody else in the top eight improved on their final lap, while Ogaard never returned to track following the restart and actually was classified with having set no laptimes, meaning he would typically require permission to race.
Ogaard missed Q2, which set the grid for race two and was also interrupted. The wet track surface again proved challenging, and drivers left it late to post laptimes.
Boya set his first lap with five minutes left of the 15-minute session and his 2m27.188s put him on top by 0.822s over Palou Motorsport’s Javier Sagrera.
An improvement on his next lap then put Boya 3.396s clear, with Gilkes going second fastest and Sagrera unable to find any more pace in the wet conditions and qualifying 5.321s back in third.
Not lapping within 107% of the pole time was Palou’s Cian Shields and Zanfari, both over 11s off the pace, so like Ogaard will require approval to start race two.
Race 1 grid
1 Mari Boya MP Motorsport 2m17.230s
2 Esteban Masson Campos Racing +0.271s
3 Bruno del Pino MP Motorsport +0.306s
4 Tasanapol Inthraphuvasak Campos Racing +0.567s
5 Cenyu Han GRS +0.819s
6 Pierre-Louis Chovet Drivex School +0.836s
7 Jose Garfias MP Motorsport +1.028s
8 Francesco Braschi Campos Racing +1.345s
9 William Karlsson Drivex School +1.404s
10 Miron Pingasov Palou Motorsport +1.954s
Race 2 grid
1 Boya 2m22.689s
2 Nick Gilkes Drivex School +3.396s
3 Javier Sagrera Palou Motorsport +5.321s
4 Del Pino +5.785s
5 Braschi +6.048s
6 Pingasov +7.373s
7 Chovet +7.421s
8 Garfias +7.577s
9 Karlsson +7.676s
10 Masson +8.326s