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Pourchaire starts 2023 F2 testing on top

by Ida Wood

Photo: Formula Motorsport Ltd

Last year’s Formula 2 runner-up Theo Pourchaire began 2023 pre-season testing at Bahrain by setting the fastest lap in the first session.

Trident’s Roman Stanek was the first on track after six minutes and set a 2m02.482s lap. Nobody else bar his team-mate Clement Novalak completed a time lap in the first 18 minutes of the two-and-a-half hour Tuesday morning session, although several teams did outlaps.

Prema’s drivers completed timed laps after 26 minutes, but they were not at a representative pace, then Virtuosi Racing’s drivers did the same after three quarters of an hour had passed.

Over 50 minutes had passed before Campos Racing’s Ralph Boschung set the first flying lap of the year, a 1m45.652s. His team-mate Kush Maini slotted into second place, 12 seconds slower.

Maini then improved to 1m46.131s at the one-hour mark, as a few more teams sent their drivers out to do a singular timed lap before returning to the pits.

MP Motorsport was the second team to commit to running its cars at pace, and Dennis Hauger moved into second place with a 1m45.908s lap. His team-mate Jehan Daruvala went fourth fastest, ahead of Hitech GP pair Isack Hadjar and Jak Crawford. No other drivers had lapped sub-1m50s after 70 minutes.

Daruvala then took top spot from Bochung with a 1m45.574s, as Rodin Carlin’s Enzo Fittipaldi slotted into third and his team-mate Zane Maloney’s firt flying lap put him fifth.

But most of the field continued to sit in the pits, and they were all then required to when red flag were waved after 100 minutes had passed following what appeared to be a problem for Maloney.

The session restarted with 43 minutes remaining, and there was very little in the top 10 as drivers were again only occasionally venturing out on track and rarely for flying laps.

ART GP sent out its drivers for hot lap with just over half an hour to go, and Victor Martins went eighth fastest. A minute later Pourchaire moved to the top with a 1m45.226s lap which put him a third of a second ahead of Daruvala.

He stayed there until the chequered flag came out, with Van Amersfoort Racing’s Richard Verschoor a late improver to 11th place while Prema’s Vesti and the Virtuosi duo failed to set a single flying lap.

Morning session results
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Theo Pourchaire ART GP 1m45.226s 19
2 Jehan Daruvala MP Motorsport 1m45.574s +0.348s 23
3 Ralph Boschung Campos Racing 1m45.652s +0.426s 27
4 Enzo Fittipaldi Carlin 1m45.816s +0.590s 20
5 Arthur Leclerc DAMS 1m45.902s +0.676s 19
6 Dennis Hauger MP Motorsport 1m45.908s +0.682s 20
7 Zane Maloney Carlin 1m45.908s +0.755s 18
8 Ayumu Iwasa DAMS 1m45.981s +0.755s 17
9 Victor Martins ART GP 1m46.089s +0.863s 20
10 Kush Maini Campos Racing 1m46.131s +0.905s 20
11 Richard Verschoor VAR 1m46.217s +0.991s 14
12 Juan Manuel Correa VAR 1m46.266s +1.040s 20
13 Clement Novalak Trident 1m46.388s +1.162s 11
14 Roy Nissany PHM Racing by Charouz 1m46.441s +1.215s 17
15 Ollie Bearman Prema 1m46.785s +1.559s 37
16 Roman Stanek Trident 1m46.987s +1.761s 13
17 Brad Benavides PHM Racing by Charouz 1m47.085s +1.859s 21
18 Isack Hadjar Hitech GP 1m47.191s +1.965s 21
19 Jak Crawford Hitech GP 1m48.839s +3.613s 9
20 Frederik Vesti Prema 2m06.514s +21.288s 25
21 Jack Doohan Virtuosi 2m19.430s +34.204s 20
22 Amaury Cordeel Virtuosi 2m22.448s +37.222s 12