Home Formula 3GB3 Kucharczyk and Bennett take a pole each in tight GB3 qualifying at Spa

Kucharczyk and Bennett take a pole each in tight GB3 qualifying at Spa

by Steve Whitfield

Photo: Jakob Ebrey Photography

Hitech GP’s Tymek Kucharczyk set a new GB3 track record to top qualifying at Spa-Francorchamps.

Kucharczyk prevailed in a battle with JHR Developments’ John Bennett to take pole for race one, with the pair separated by 0.056 seconds, while points leader Louis Sharp was third for Rodin Motorsport. By posting two laptimes within 0.01s of each other, Bennett’s second-best effort gave him race two pole ahead of Kucharczyk and Sharp.

Velocity Racing Development by Arden’s Noah Ping was the first to complete a flying lap in the 25-minute session, posting an opening benchmark of 1m22.029s. Hitech’s Will Macintyre soon lowered the pace to 1m18.524s, with Ping reclaiming top spot on his next lap only to then be beaten by his team-mates Nikita Johnson and Shawn Rashid.

Bennett went fastest with a 1m15.311s and, after being edged by Kucharczyk, improved to 1m15.025s to lead by 0.101s at the halfway stage of qualifying as most drivers headed for the pit lane for fresh tyres.

Upon returning to track, Kucharczyk snatched back the advantage by 0.028s with a 1m14.997s, while Rodin’s Ugo Ugochukwu improved to fourth behind Elite Motorsport’s McKenzy Cresswell. Ping briefly moved into third before Sharp posted a new best of 1m14.879s to leap from sixth to first place, with Johnson putting in a fractionally slower lap to rise to second place.

Kucharczyk moved ahead once more with a new track record of 1m14.596s which eclipsed the unofficial record he set earlier in the day in pre-event testing, and led Ugochukwu 0.277s. Bennett then reclaimed second with a lap 0.066s shy of the pace, and reduced the deficit by 0.010s while Kucharczyk was unable to improve further but did set a new second-best effort to secure a front row spot alongside Bennett for race two.

Sharp beat his own personal best late on to pip team-mate Ugochukwu and secure third on the grid for both races. Johnson was only 0.3s off the pace in fifth in his first ever GB3 qualifying session, and Cresswell was a further 0.2s adrift in sixth. Ping was just behind in seventh, with Macintyre eighth ahead of Elite’s Jarrod Waberski and Chris Dittmann Racing’s Sebastian Murray – the top 10 separated by less than a second.

Elite’s Hugo Schwarze provisionally took reversed-grid pole for race three by being 12th quickest, while debutants Kanato Le (CDR) and Marcus Luzio (Hillspeed) were 14th and 21st respectively.

Qualifying round-up

Race 1 grid
1 Tymek Kucharczyk Hitech GP 2m15.596s
2 John Bennett JHR Developments +0.056s
3 Louis Sharp Rodin Motorsport +0.226s
4 Ugu Ugochukwu Rodin Motorsport +0.277s
5 Nikita Johnson VRD by Arden +0.315s
6 McKenzy Cresswell Elite Motorsport +0.517s
7 Noah Ping VRD by Arden +0.562s
8 Will Macintyre Hitech GP +0.733s
9 Jarrod Waberski Elite Motorsport +0.968s
10 Sebastian Murray Chris Dittmann Racing +0.996s

Race 2 grid
1 Bennett 2m14.662s
2 Kucharczyk +0.047s
3 Sharp +0.217s
4 Johnson +0.311s
5 Ping +0.558s
6 Cresswell +0.660s
7 Ugochukwu +0.782s
8 Macintyre +0.882s
9 Arthur Rogeon Rodin Motorsport +1.025s
10 Gerrard Xie Hitech GP +1.030s

Race 3 grid
1 Hugo Schwarze Elite Motorsport
2 Xie
3 Murray
4 Waberski
5 Macintyre
6 Ping
7 Cresswell
8 Johnson
9 Ugochukwu
10 Sharp