F3 - Lance Stroll on top in rainy Pau qualifying | Federation Internationale de l'Automobile
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F3 - Lance Stroll on top in rainy Pau qualifying

13.05.16
In the rain at Pau, Lance Stroll (Prema Powerteam, 1:21.832 minutes) claimed pole position for the seventh race of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship season.

George Russell (HitechGP, 1:22.154 minutes) will be starting from second place on the grid for the race at the 2.76 kilometres long street circuit at the foot of the Pyrenees. Nick Cassidy (Prema Powerteam, 1:22.198 minutes) and the best-placed rookie, Ben Barnicoat (HitechGP, 1:22.311 minutes) will be lining up on the second row of the grid. Maximilian Günther (Prema Powerteam, 1:22.472 minutes), the FIA Formula 3 European Championship points’ leader, had to make do with sixth place behind the only French driver in the field, Anthoine Hubert (Van Amersfoort Racing, 1:22.252 minutes).

Because of the short track, the field was split up into two groups for qualifying. Group A saw George Russell come out on top after an exciting duel with his team-mate Ben Barnicoat. Both Brits staged a battle that lasted for more than half of the 20 minutes’ session. Stalwart Russell and novice Barnicoat swapped positions in the lead several times. Eventually, Russell emerged as the fastest driver in Group A. Behind Barnicoat, Maximilian Günther followed in third place, a position he secured in the closing stages of the session. Sérgio Sette Câmara (Motopark, 1:22.597 minutes), Ryan Tveter (Carlin, 1:22.641 minutes) and Alessio Lorandi (Carlin, 1:22.676 minutes) ended up in fourth to sixth place in their group.

In Group B, heading out on track after Group A, Lance Stroll found himself in the lead at an early stage already. Later on, the Canadian first battled for the top position with Niko Kari (Motopark, 1:22.503 minutes), before Nick Cassidy moved up into second place just before the end. Anthoine Hubert and Callum Ilott (Van Amersfoort Racing, 1:22.422 minutes) also moved past the Finn before the session was over, claiming third and fourth place from rookie driver Kari. Arjun Maini (ThreeBond with T-Sport, 1:22.562 minutes) was classified in sixth place.

According to the FIA Formula 3 European Championship regulations, when qualifying is held in two groups, the driver with the outright fastest lap time of both groups takes pole position. In this case, Lance Stroll was the one to do so, allowing the Canadian to start the first race of the weekend at Pau from the best starting grid position. Alongside him, the fastest driver of the other group will be lining up in second place. In the order determined by the classification of the respective groups, the other drivers will then follow behind the fastest drivers of their groups with one qualifying group filling the left-hand row and the other one filling the right-hand row of the grid.

Lance Stroll (Prema Powerteam): “Today, conditions were anything but easy. From first free practice onwards, it was very slippery here due to the rain and because the walls are always very close at a street circuit, you can’t afford making a mistake. In qualifying, I was very quick straight away and then I tried improving lap after lap. That worked out and I am really happy with my performance. After free practice, things weren’t looking too good for me, because we were having some little issues. However, my team was able to solve these in time, so that we managed to come out on top in qualifying.”