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Pourchaire dominates Bahrain F2 qualifying to end pole drought in style

by Peter Allen

Photo: Formula Motorsport Ltd

Theo Pourchaire has kicked off his third season in Formula 2 with a dominant pole position in Bahrain ahead of debuting team-mate Victor Martins.

Pourchaire was 0.751 seconds quicker than Martins with nine tenths of a second back to third-placed Richard Verschoor.

It is only the second time Pourchaire has qualified on pole position in F2, and the first since Monaco in his rookie campaign in 2021.

Carrying on his and ART Grand Prix’s performance from the pre-season testing and Friday’s earlier practice session in Bahrain, Pourchaire laid down an early marker on his first run with a lap of 1m41.530s, nearly half a second quicker than second-placed Ralph Boschung.

When he returned to the track on his second run, Pourchaire found a further six tenths of a second, recording a 1m40.903s with four-and-a-half minutes to go.

Martins then slotted into second place to demote Verschoor, who still delivered a strong third place for Van Amersfoort Racing at the start of its second season in F2.

The gaps behind Verschoor were close. He was 0.028s ahead of Dennis Hauger (MP Motorsport), with fifth-placed Frederik Vesti also within a tenth for Prema.

Kush Maini was a surprise star for Campos Racing in his first F2 qualifying and finished up sixth.

Twice on pole last year, Ayumu Iwasa languished down in 19th place before lifting himself up to seventh near the end, just 0.039s ahead of debuting DAMS team-mate Arthur Leclerc.

Roman Stanek made the top 10 on his debut with Trident in ninth, with Boschung finishing up 10th and securing reversed-grid pole for the season-opening sprint race.

Missing that cut-off by just seven thousandths was Jehan Daruvala, who led Ollie Bearman, Enzo Fittipaldi and Isack Hadjar.

The biggest upset was a difficult session for Jack Doohan, who came nowhere close to repeating his Bahrain pole of one year ago. He stayed out on an empty track in the middle of the session to go fourth, but was shuffled down to 17th place and unable to improve after encountering slow traffic right at the end.

Qualifying results
Pos Driver Team Time Gaps Laps
1 Theo Pourchaire ART GP 1m40.903s 11
2 Victor Martins ART GP 1m41.654s +0.751s 11
3 Richard Verschoor VAR 1m41.803s +0.900s 12
4 Dennis Hauger MP Motorsport 1m41.831s +0.928s 11
5 Frederik Vesti Prema 1m41.897s +0.994s 12
6 Kush Maini Campos Racing 1m43.927s +1.024s 8
7 Ayumu Iwasa DAMS 1m41.934s +1.031s 12
8 Arthur Leclerc DAMS 1m41.973s +1.070s 11
9 Roman Stanek Trident 1m43.988s +1.085s 12
10 Ralph Boschung Campos Racing 1m42.010s +1.107s 10
11 Jehan Daruvala MP Motorsport 1m42.017s +1.114s 12
12 Ollie Bearman Prema 1m42.026s +1.123s 12
13 Enzo Fittipaldi Carlin 1m42.049s +1.146s 13
14 Isack Hadjar Hitech GP 1m42.092s +1.189s 12
15 Amaury Cordeel Virtuosi 1m42.092s +1.189s 11
16 Juan Manuel Correa VAR 1m42.109s +1.206s 12
17 Jack Doohan Virtuosi 1m42.112s +1.209s 10
18 Zane Maoloney Carlin 1m42.185s +1.282s 11
19 Jak Crawford Hitech GP 1m42.234s +1.331s 11
20 Brad Benavides PHM by Charouz 1m42.493s +1.590s 12
21 Roy Nissany PHM by Charouz 1m42.502s +1.599s 12
22 Clement Novalak Trident 1m42.570s +1.667s 10