Campos Racing’s Pepe Marti boosted his title hopes with FIA Formula 3 pole at drying Spa-Francorchamps, while championship leader Gabriel Bortoleto was only 15th fastest.
Despite the sun shining, the start of qualifying was delayed five minutes to allow for a blower tractor to move the standing water at the Eau Rouge-Raidillon section.
ART Grand Prix’s Gregoire Saucy was the first to set a competitive laptime, a 2m26.165s. Meanwhile his team-mate Kaylen Frederick and MP Motorsport’s Mari Boya briefly brought out yellow flags as they went off at the end of sector two.
Frederik lowed Saucy’s benchmark by one tenth of a second the following lap, but he would not last long on top of the times.
The amount of water on track decreased and drivers soon improved their laptimes. Marti went fastest, but his effort of 2m25.604s was deleted for exceeding track limits.
Trident’s Bortoleto moved to the top halfway through qualifying as all other drivers headed back into the pitlane. Bortoleto bettered Van Amersfoort Racing’s Caio Collet, who previously held the fastest lap, by over half a second.
The track continued to dry out in the second half of qualifying, which meant drivers were able to go considerably faster on their second set of grooved tyres.
Saucy was fastest after the first timed lap of the second runs, with a 2m23.345s. All three Prema drivers then bettered him, with Zak O’Sullivan leading Dino Beganovic and Paul Aron.
However, there was time for one more lap and Marti made the most of out of it. The Spaniard claimed pole (and moved into second in the championship standings) ahead of Trident’s Leonardo Fornaroli and Hitech GP’s Gabriele Mini. O’Sullivan, who was Bortoleto’s closest rival coming into the weekend, qualified seventh.
Campos’s Hugh Barter will start Saturday’s sprint race from reversed-grid pole with Aron alongside him, after qualifying in 12th and 11th place respectively.
A mechanical failure prevented Oliver Goethe from taking part in the second half of the session. The Trident driver was in eighth after the first runs, but by not going back out he dropped all the way down to 27th.
|1||Pepe Marti||Campos Racing||2m22.160s||10|
|3||Gabriele Mini||Hitech GP||2m22.254s||+0.096s||9|
|4||Franco Colapinto||MP Motorsport||2m22.402s||+0.242s||9|
|5||Nikola Tsolov||ART Grand Prix||2m22.517s||+0.357s||10|
|9||Caio Collet||Van Amersfoort Racing||2m22.792s||+0.632s||9|
|10||Taylor Barnard||Jenzer Motorsport||2m22.816s||+0.656s||10|
|12||Hugh Barter||Campos Racing||2m23.104s||+0.944s||9|
|13||Luke Browning||Hitech GP||2m23.143s||+0.983s||9|
|14||Mari Boya||MP Motorsport||2m23.175s||+1.015s||9|
|16||Gregoire Saucy||ART Grand Prix||2m23.345s||+1.185s||10|
|17||Kaylen Frederick||ART Grand Prix||2m23.435s||+1.275s||11|
|18||Nikita Bedrin||Jenzer Motorsport||2m23.914s||+1.754s||9|
|19||Rafael Villagomez||Van Amersfoort Racing||2m23.945s||+1.785s||9|
|20||Tommy Smith||Van Amersfoort Racing||2m23.975s||+1.815s||9|
|21||Sebastian Montoya||Hitech GP||2m24.006s||+1.846s||9|
|22||Alex Garcia||Jenzer Motorsport||2m24.276s||+2.116s||10|
|23||Christian Mansell||Campos Racing||2m24.334s||+2.174s||10|
|24||Sophia Floersch||PHM by Charouz||2m24.952s||+2.792s||9|
|28||Michael Shin||PHM by Charouz||2m26.320s||+4.160s||9|
|30||Roberto Faria||PHM by Charouz||2m26.810s||+4.650s||9|