Dennis takes last-gasp pole for Pau opener

An eleventh hour surge in a wet qualifying gave Jake Dennis pole position for the first of this weekend’s European Formula 3 races at Pau.

In the faster second qualifying group for even-numbered cars, Dennis’ pole position time of 1m21.795s came after the chequered flag fell, the Prema driver taking six tenths out of his previous time to depose Maximilian Gunther from pole as track conditions improved.

Gunther will start from third, in turn ousting from the top spot Red Bull junior Callum Ilott, the first man to beat the benchmark set in the first group by Charles Leclerc.

Alessio Lorandi, who also enjoyed a spell atop the times earlier on, was fourth quickest in the group and will line up seventh, ahead of George Russell and Pietro Fittipaldi.

Earlier on, Leclerc dominated the first group of qualifiers – consisting of the odd-numbered cars – from the very outset, having set a time over three seconds quicker than his nearest rival when the red flags were shown after six minutes.

Once proceedings resumed, Leclerc continued to chip away at his benchmark with each lap as his rivals scrambled to keep in touch, eventually ending up on a 1m22.845s to take what would later become second on the grid.

Progressive improvements from championship leader Antonio Giovinazzi brought the Italian to within 0.451s of the imperious Leclerc and sealed him fourth, with Alex Albon slotting into third with a time eight tenths further adrift to secure sixth.

Mikkel Jensen was fourth quickest in the group, ahead of Arjun Maini and Lance Stroll, while title contender Felix Rosenqvist faces a monumental task clawing his way up from 14th on the grid after managing only the seventh best time.

First session top 10:

Pos Driver Team Time/Gap
Charles Leclerc Van Amersfoort Racing 1m22.845
Antonio Giovinazzi Carlin 0.451
Alexander Albon Signature 0.530
Mikkel Jensen Mucke Motorsport 0.725
Arjun Maini Van Amersfoort Racing 0.878
Lance Stroll Prema Powerteam 1.074
Felix Rosenqvist Prema Powerteam 1.105
Sergio Sette Camara Motopark 1.399
Santino Ferrucci Mucke Motorsport 1.459
10  Gustav Malja Eurointernational 1.966

Second session top 10:

Pos Driver Team Time/Gap
Jake Dennis Prema Powerteam 1m21.795
Maximilian Gunther Mucke Motorsport 0.786
Callum Ilott Carlin 0.849
Alessio Lorandi Van Amersfoort Racing 0.856
George Russell Carlin 1.150
Pietro Fittipaldi Fortec 1.296
Brandon Maisano Prema Powerteam 1.399
Gustavo Menezes Carlin 1.492
Dorian Boccolacci Signature 1.577
10  Michele Beretta Mucke Motorsport 1.719
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About this article
Series F3 Europe
Event Pau
Track Circuit de Pau
Drivers Antonio Giovinazzi , Jake Dennis , Callum Ilott , Charles Leclerc , Maximilian Gunther
Teams Prema Powerteam
Article type Qualifying report