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Saucy fastest again on first afternoon of F3 testing

by Ida Wood

Photo: Formula Motorsport Ltd

ART Grand Prix’s Gregoire Saucy set the pace in the afternoon session of Formula 3’s first day of pre-season testing, having done the same in the morning.

There was far more track action than in the earlier session, with Jenzer Motorsport’s Nikita Bedrin initially setting the pace and with 17 cars heading out on track in the first seven minutes.

Trident’s Gabriel went to the top when the first representative laptimes came in after 10 minutes, heading team-mate Leonardo Fornaroli and Van Amersfoort Racing’s Caio Collet who moved up to second place after 17 minutes had passed.

Oliver Goethe put the third of Trident’s cars in fourth place, but was shuffled down to fifth by VAR’s Rafael Villagomez was the session reached the 20-minute mark.

Hitech GP was the only team that had not been on track in any capacity by that point, and it finally headed out at the end of the first hour of running.

New Alpine junior Gabriele Mini lit up the timing screens with his first lap, immediately going fastest with a 1m49.111s effort. Luke Browning, conducting a prize test for winning the 2022 GB3 title, slotted into fifth place and Sebastian Montoya went ninth fastest.

The trio went on another run and Mini improved by over half a second while Browning went second fastest. Another improvement at the halfway point of the two-and-a-half hour session from Mini brought the pace down to 1m48.446s.

Villagomez and Montoya disputed third place a few minutes later, with Hitech and VAR the only two teams on track, and Collet moved into second place ahead of Browning. VAR’s Tommy Smith climbed up to eighth, then as the session went into its final hour Villagomez returned to third.

Prema was the next team to head out, and they started to threaten the Hitech trio’s pace. Mini responded by setting a 1m48.214s, with Prema’s Zak O’Sullivan going second fastest and then team-mate Paul Aron lapping within 0.033s of Mini.

Aron set a 1m47.889s to go top with 40 minutes remaining, with O’Sullivan now second. The ART GP drivers had now joined them on track, and Kaylen Frederick rose to fourth before Saucy set a session-topping 1m47.692s with 37 minutes to go.

The track was quieter again after that, with Franco Colapinto being shown a technical flag, Campos Racing’s Pepe Marti going third fastest with 27 minutes remaining, then Saucy improving in the final 10 minutes to secure first place.

Frederick improved in fourth, and team-mate Nikola Tsolov moved into eighth place.

Browning got himself back into sixth with five minutes to go, before yellow flags at turn three stopped anyone else from improving and most drivers headed back to the pits to end their day.

Afternoon session results
Pos Driver Team Time Gaps Laps
1 Gregoire Saucy ART Grand Prix 1m47.563s 28
2 Paul Aron Prema 1m47.889s +0.326s 34
3 Pepe Marti Campos Racing 1m48.125s +0.562s 29
4 Kaylen Frederick ART Grand Prix 1m48.136s +0.573s 31
5 Zak O’Sullivan Prema 1m48.162s +0.599s 34
6 Luke Browning Hitech GP 1m48.206s +0.643s 26
7 Gabriele Mini Hitech GP 1m48.214s +0.651s 14
8 Dino Beganovic Prema 1m48.279s +0.716s 34
9 Taylor Barnard Jenzer Motorsport 1m48.393s +0.830s 28
10 Franco Colapinto MP Motorsport 1m48.434s +0.871s 26
11 Nikola Tsolov ART Grand Prix 1m48.455s +0.892s 29
12 Gabriel Bortoleto Trident 1m48.486s +0.923s 26
13 Leonardo Fornaroli Trident 1m48.679s +1.116s 24
14 Jonny Edgar MP Motorsport 1m48.775s +1.212s 30
15 Caio Collet VAR 1m48.776s +1.213s 32
16 Christian Mansell Campos Racing 1m48.792s +1.229s 31
17 Hugh Barter Campos Racing 1m48.796s +1.233s 41
18 Sebastian Montoya Hitech GP 1m48.880s +1.317s 22
19 Nikita Bedrin Jenzer Motorsport 1m48.902s +1.339s 29
20 Rafael Villagomez VAR 1m48.909s +1.346s 33
21 Oliver Goethe Trident 1m48.946s +1.383s 24
22 Mari Boya MP Motorsport 1m49.184s +1.621s 27
23 Ido Cohen Carlin 1m49.344s +1.781s 33
24 Hunter Yeany Carlin 1m49.474s +1.911s 27
25 Alex Garcia Jenzer Motorsport 1m49.509s +1.946s 26
26 Ollie Gray Carlin 1m49.668s +2.105s 33
27 Piotr Wisnicki PHM Racing by Charouz 1m49.918s +2.355s 26
28 Tommy Smith VAR 1m49.946s +2.383s 34
29 Sophia Floersch PHM Racing by Charouz 1m50.079s +2.516s 32
30 Roberto Faria PHM Racing by Charouz 1m51.078s +3.515s 28