France F3: Hauger tops practice times with last-gasp effort
Prema Racing’s Dennis Hauger was quickest in FIA Formula 3 practice at Paul Ricard, with a last-minute flying lap beating MP Motorsport driver Caio Collet to the top spot.
Championship leader Hauger, who won the feature race in the first round in Barcelona, posted a late 1m51.478s lap to top the timesheets, two-tenths ahead of Collet.
Trident’s Jack Doohan finished the 45-minute session third, three-tenths off the pace, followed by ART Grand Prix’s Frederik Vesti.
MP Motorsport’s Victor Martins claimed the fifth fastest time at his home race weekend, with 16-year-old rookie Jak Crawford (Hitech Grand Prix) in sixth.
Pierre-Louis Chovet, replacing a COVID-stricken Laszlo Toth at Campos Racing for the weekend, set the first flying lap with a 1m55.469s, but was quickly beaten by team-mate Amaury Cordeel, who went quicker by 1.2s.
As the times tumbled, Alpine Academy driver Collet jumped to the top with a 1m53.164s, before Red Bull Junior Hauger became the first driver to break into the 1m52s with a 1m52.297s.
Charouz Racing System’s Reshad de Gerus ran wide at Turn 2 and failed to pass through the bollards correctly on his return to the track, which was noted by the stewards.
There was a red flag with 20 minutes left of practice after de Gerus went off and hit the barrier at Turn 6, eventually making it back to the pits before the session was restarted six minutes later.
The virtual safety car was then brought out in the last ten minutes after Rafael Villagomez spun, but the HWA Racelab driver managed to get himself going again, avoiding a second red flag.
Johnathan Hoggard, taking part in his first F3 session for Jenzer Motorsport, finished tenth with a time of 1m52.255s.
The 2019 Aston Martin Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year is replacing Chovet at the Swiss team, with Chovet then getting a late call-up to replace Toth.
Qualifying will take place this afternoon to set the grid for Sunday’s feature race, and the top ten will be reversed to decide the starting order for Saturday morning’s sprint race.
The top ten of the first race will be reversed for Saturday afternoon’s second sprint race.
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