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Saucy fastest as F3 pre-season testing begins

by Ida Wood

Photo: Formula Motorsport Ltd

ART Grand Prix’s Gregoire Saucy was fastest in the first session of pre-season testing for the FIA Formula 3 Championship.

Action began with two-and-a-half hours on track at Bahrain on Tuesday morning, but in the first half of that session 26 of the 30 drivers only completed an outlap and then stayed in the pits.

Van Amersfoort Racing’s Tommy Smith set a flying lap after the first hour and continued to navigate around the track for some time before the Hitech GP trio of Luke Browning, Gabriele Mini and Sebastian Montoya eventually joined him as the session hit its halfway mark.

But none of those three even set a flying lap before returning to the pits, lapping over half a minute slower than Smith on their timed effort, and it was not until the final 45 minutes that drivers headed out again with the intention to set laptimes.

With half an hour remaining on the clock it was Jenzer Motorsport’s Alex Garcia who sat in first place with a 1m50.253s lap, putting him 0.148 seconds ahead of team-mate Taylor Barnard and with Campos Racing’s Pepe Marti 0.238s behind in third.

Two other drivers were within a second of the pace, and 10 drivers had now set flying laps while the 20 others had still not left the pits. Barnard went fastest two minutes later, a 1m49.199s effort putting him 0.3s clear of Marti.

As the session reached its final 20 minutes, all but the PHM Racing by Charouz, MP Motorsport and VAR drivers headed out but there was no change at the top of the times.

Barnard was eventually usurped in the final minutes by Saucy, who set a 1m49.155s to go fastest by 0.044s.

Prema’s Zak O’Sullivan also jumped up the order late on to third, with MP Motorsport’s Jonny Edgar going fourth and Marti being shuffled down to fifth.

Completing the most laps was Browning, who was driving an F3 car for the first time as a prize for winning the 2022 GB3 title.

At the very bottom of the timesheet, VAR’s Rafael Villagomez and PHM’s Sophia Floersch both failed to set a single representative laptime during the session.

Morning session results
Pos Driver Team Time Gaps Laps
1 Gregoire Saucy ART Grand Prix 1m49.155s 9
2 Taylor Barnard Jenzer Motorsport 1m49.199s +0.044s 14
3 Zak O’Sullivan Prema 1m49.448s +0.293s 10
4 Jonny Edgar MP Motorsport 1m49.456s +0.301s 9
5 Pepe Marti Campos Racing 1m49.500s +0.345s 16
6 Gabriel Bortoleto Trident 1m49.566s +0.411s 11
7 Caio Collet Van Amersfoort Racing 1m49.619s +0.464s 7
8 Paul Aron Prema 1m49.687s +0.532s 12
9 Nikita Bedrin Jenzer Motorsport 1m49.712s +0.557s 12
10 Dino Beganovic Prema 1m49.797s +0.642s 13
11 Kaylen Frederick ART Grand Prix 1m49.819s +0.664s 10
12 Hunter Yeany Carlin 1m49.899s +0.744s 10
13 Franco Colapinto MP Motorsport 1m49.901s +0.746s 9
14 Hugh Barter Campos Racing 1m50.098s +0.943s 16
15 Lenoardo Fornaroli Trident 1m50.197s +1.042s 11
16 Alex Garcia Jenzer Motorsport 1m50.253s +1.098s 13
17 Oliver Goethe Trident 1m50.279s +1.124s 11
18 Nikola Tsolov ART Grand Prix 1m50.670s +1.515s 10
19 Ido Cohen Carlin 1m50.810s +1.655s 9
20 Mari Boya MP Motorsport 1m50.871s +1.716s 10
21 Luke Browning Hitech GP 1m50.881s +1.726s 29
22 Christian Mansell Campos Racing 1m51.078s +1.923s 15
23 Tommy Smith Van Amersfoort Racing 1m51.332s +2.177s 26
24 Gabriele Mini Hitech GP 1m51.545s +2.390s 28
25 Sebastian Montoya Hitech GP 1m51.704s +2.549s 25
26 Piotr Wisnicki PHM Racing by Charouz 1m52.052s +2.897s 10
27 Ollie Gray Carlin 1m52.196s +3.041s 9
28 Roberto Faria PHM Racing by Charouz 1m52.399s +3.244s 7
29 Rafael Villagomez Van Amersfoort Racing 2m01.365s +12.210s 5
30 Sophia Floersch PHM Racing by Charouz no time 3