Things couldn’t have run much better for Raffaele Marciello (Prema Powerteam) in the Vallelunga qualifying sessions. The Italian secured two pole positions and one second position on the grid.
For Marciello’s title rival Felix Rosenqvist (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport), however, the qualifying sessions didn’t run as he had hoped they would.
In the first session he stranded in the gravel due to a broken wheel suspension, was forced into early retirement and was ranked last - and in the second he had to settle for finishing 13th.
Starting grid race 1
In a qualifying session that remained thrilling up the very last seconds, championship leader Raffaele Marciello (1:29.564 minutes) was the driver who prevailed in the end. With just one more minute to go, the Italian set the fastest lap time of the session. Alexander Sims (ThreeBond with T-Sport, 1:29.648 minutes) finished second, followed by Alex Lynn (1:29.689) and Red Bull junior Daniil Kvyat (Carlin, 1:29.710) who stole fourth position on the grid in the very last second from Félix Serrallés (Fortec Motorsports, 1:29.738).
Roman Eddie Cheever (Prema Powerteam, 1:29.769 minutes) was happy with having finished sixth. Meanwhile, Marciello’s toughest title rival Felix Rosenqvist (1:31.951 minutes) encountered a disastrous first session. Short after session half-time, the Swede’s wheel suspension broke when he went over a curb - and he stranded in the gravel.
Afterwards, the Mücke driver had to watch the rest of the field setting faster lap times while he dropped back to 27th and last position. Apart from Rosenqvist, Seal Gelael (Double R Racing, 1:30.916 minutes) also made for a short red-flag period when he went off. But other than Rosenqvist, the Indonesian could continue the qualifying session.
Starting grid race 2
Alex Lynn (1:29.794 minutes) secured pole for the second race of the weekend. In the ranking of the second-fastest qualifying laps, the Briton was simply the best. So, his team-mate Raffaele Marciello (1:29.801 minutes) had to settle for finishing second, followed by Daniil Kvyat (1:29.819), Alexander Sims (1:29.849), Eddie Cheever (1:29.927) and Luis Felipe Derani (Fortec Motorsports, 1:29.927 minutes) who set exactly the same time as Cheever. While Rosenqvist (1:41,785 minutes) also will be the last on the grid for race two.
Starting grid race 3
Raffaele Marciello (1:29.329 minutes) underlined his strong shape in the second qualifying session by also securing the pole for race three of the penultimate race weekend. Luis Felipe Derani (1:29.465 minutes) and Félix Serrallés (1:29.468) made their team, Fortec Motorsports, extremely happy, by finishing second and third respectively. Fourth place was clinched by Alexander Sims (1:29.478 minutes). Alex Lynn (1:29.488 minutes) and Jordan King (Carlin, 1:29,514) made for a purely British third row on the grid for the 27th race of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship season.
Raffaele Marciello (Prema Powerteam): “A very good qualifying for me. I secured two poles and a second position on the grid. In addition, my title rival Felix is far back on the grid and it goes without saying that this also is good for me. Nonetheless, I don’t yet think about the title as I secured just pole positions, to date, but not a single point. I have to achieve this goal first and then we can see what will happen. I know this circuit very well and I think that’s helpful for being fast, here.”
Alex Lynn (Prema Powerteam): “Despite my pole I’m not too happy. I was rather fast, today, but I just didn’t get my act together. It was my fault as the car was good enough for even better results. I think I even could have been faster than Raffaele but he just didn’t make any mistakes. Now I’ve set myself the goal to secure three podiums and score many points. Who knows? Perhaps I will even be able to close in on Felix’ second position in the championship. Everything is still open, to date, and I won’t give up.”