Home Featured Fukuzumi beats Aitken and Russell to Jerez GP3 pole

Fukuzumi beats Aitken and Russell to Jerez GP3 pole

by Elliot Wood
Fukuzumi

Photo: Zak Mauger/GP3 Series Media Service

Nirei Fukuzumi kept his small title hopes going with a second straight GP3 pole of the season at Circuito de Jerez, with title rivals and team-mates Jack Aitken and George Russell lined up just behind.

ART Grand Prix were the fastest team around Jerez, and it was Aitken leading a intra-team 1-2-3-4 after the the first qualifying runs were completed.

Russell looked to be the pacesetter when the cars went out a second time, but as the first of the ART cars to cross the line he failed to reap the benefits of the track rubbering in.

Aitken and Fukuzumi both set laps after the chequered flag fell, and were quicker than their championship-leading team-mate.

Fukuzumi?s pole was the first time he?d topped a qualifying session since the second Twin Motegi Japanese Formula 3 round in 2015, with his pole at the previous GP3 round at Monza having come after qualifying was rained off and practice times set the grid.

?I?m very happy with today?s pole position. I drove the best that I could this afternoon. I was able to put everything together for that lap and it was good enough for pole,? Fukuzumi said.

?[At Monza] I was lucky and yes also happy to get pole then, but this time, I set it on the track during the qualifying session so I am really, really happy.?

The four points for pole mean Fukuzumi is now 59 points behind Russell, with 92 still available.

ART were denied a clean sweep of the front two rows after Red Bull junior Dan Ticktum put in a stunning lap to go fourth in his first ever GP3 qualifying session for DAMS.

Anthoine Hubert in the fourth ART car was fifth as a result, with Alessio Lorandi sixth before a three-place grid penalty was handed to the Italian for impeding fellow countryman Leonardo Pulcini.

Dorian Boccolacci inherits the position, ahead of Niko Kari, Tatiana Calderon, Lorandi and Steijn Schothorst.

Feature Race Grid
1 Nirei Fukuzumi ART 1m30.678s
2 Jack Aitken ART +0.169s
3 George Russell ART +0.211s
4 Dan Ticktum DAMS +0.353s
5 Anthoine Hubert ART +0.463s
6 Dorian Boccolacci Trident +0.711s
7 Niko Kari Arden +0.727s
8 Tatiana Calderon DAMS +0.800s
9 Alessio Lorandi Jenzer +0.656s [3-place grid penalty]
10 Steijn Schothorst Arden +0.829s
11 Giuliano Alesi Trident +0.915s
12 Kevin Jorg Trident +0.983s
13 Ryan Tveter Trident +1.011s
14 Julien Falchero Campos +1.029s
15 Marcos Siebert Campos +1.029s
16 Leonardo Pulcini Arden +1.048s
17 Raoul Hyman Campos +1.306s
18 Juan Manuel Correa Jenzer +1.341s
19 Arjun Maini Jenzer +1.461s
20 Bruno Baptista DAMS +1.483s

Championship Standings
1 Russell 162 2 Aitken 119 3 Fukuzumi 103 4 Hubert 97 5 Alesi 95 6 Lorandi 63 7 Tveter 62 8 Boccolacci 54 9 Maini 53 10 Kari 28