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Qualifying report
FIA F3 Bahrain

Bahrain F3: Colapinto takes pole for newcomer team Van Amersfoort

FIA Formula 3 rookie Franco Colapinto took pole position in Bahrain for Van Amersfoort Racing, topping qualifying at the first attempt for the newcomer Dutch squad.

Franco Colapinto, F3

The Argentine set a 1m46.249s after overcoming earlier track limits issues to take the front spot for Sunday’s feature race, setting a time to go top which then withstood an effort from Trident's Roman Stanek.

Colapinto was still yet to set a representative lap with 10 minutes to go after his previous quick run was deleted for exceeding track limits, with stewards waving the black and white flag as a warning.

As the pack re-emerged from the pitlane for a second round of runs, led out by Williams junior and Aston Martin Autosport BRDC Award winner Zak O’Sullivan, the times tumbled, with Colapinto managing to snatch the top spot with a 1m46.249s.

Colapinto enters 2022 as an F3 rookie, but has extensive experience in sportscars, having competed in the European Le Mans Series last year, finishing fourth in LMP2 with one race win at Paul Ricard. He also competed in two races in the same class in the FIA World Endurance Championship,  

He also undertook a full Formula Regional European Championship campaign alongside several other F3 rookies, including Saucy, Zane Maloney and Isack Hadjar, finishing sixth overal

Roman Stanek took second place for 2021 teams’ champions Trident having led this morning’s practice session, with rookie Kush Maini in third for MP Motorsport, although he will be investigated after the session for missing the weighbridge.

Stanek bettered his previous time to set a 1m46.314s, putting him up into second, with Saucy in third 0.1s behind him, before a late dash from Maini bumped him down into fourth.

Saucy thus beat his ART teammates Victor Martins and Juan Manuel Correa, who will line up for Sunday's race from fifth and sixth ahead of Barbadian rookie Zane Maloney.

Alexander Smolyar, who earned a late reprieve with MP Motorsport, was attempting to set a quick lap with less than a minute to go when he was interrupted by Ayrton Simmons, who was attempting to break away from the pack to start a fast lap.

It left the MP Motorsport driver, who is competing as an Authorised Neutral Driver under the FIA’s code of conduct for Russian drivers, to finish the session in eighth.

Newcomers Isack Hadjar and David Vidales completed the top 10.

The reverse-grid format for Saturday’s sprint race means O’Sullivan - who qualified 12th - will start at the front for Carlin, with fellow Briton Ollie Bearman in second for Prema Racing.

O’Sullivan made it out of the garage in front of the pack for the first set of runs, avoiding the traditional F3 qualifying traffic and becoming the first driver to set a representative lap with a 1m47.847s.

He was quickly knocked off the top spot as the rest of the grid put in their first quick laps, with Saucy ending up on top with a 1m46.978s as the first driver to break the 1m47s barrier.

Saucy continued to lead from Stanek and Caio Collet (MP Motorsport) at the halfway point, before Juan Manuel Correa (ART) put himself up from P12 into third with a 1m47.120s.

Smolyar then went fastest with a 1m46.642s, over 0.3s quicker than Saucy, but the blockage on his later lap from Simmons meant that he was unable to improve and fell down the order

Just one second covered the top 18 after the first round of laps, with most drivers setting a time under 1m47s before heading into the pits around the halfway mark to change tyres.

Jak Crawford’s session was affected after a large amount of fluid leaked from the bottom of his Prema-run car while he was in the pits, although he managed to get back out on track with three minutes left on the clock.

Prema endured a difficult session, with Bearman the Italian squad's highest runner in 11th, with sophomore Arthur Leclerc only making 14th behind fellow second-year Caio Collet.

FIA F3 Bahrain qualifying results

Cla Driver Team Time Gap
1 Argentina Franco Colapinto
Van Amersfoort Racing 1'46.249
2 Czech Republic Roman Staněk
Italy Trident 1'46.314 0.065
3 India Kush Maini
Netherlands MP Motorsport 1'46.322 0.073
4 Switzerland Gregoire Saucy
France ART Grand Prix 1'46.410 0.161
5 France Victor Martins
France ART Grand Prix 1'46.412 0.163
6 United States Juan Manuel Correa
France ART Grand Prix 1'46.600 0.351
7 Zane Maloney
Italy Trident 1'46.622 0.373
8 Russian Federation Alexander Smolyar
Netherlands MP Motorsport 1'46.642 0.393
9 Isack Hadjar
United Kingdom HitechGP 1'46.649 0.400
10 Spain David Vidales
Spain Campos Racing 1'46.707 0.458
11 Oliver Bearman
Italy Prema Powerteam 1'46.843 0.594
12 Zak O'Sullivan
Carlin 1'46.860 0.611
13 Caio Collet
Netherlands MP Motorsport 1'46.945 0.696
14 Arthur Leclerc
Italy Prema Powerteam 1'46.961 0.712
15 United Kingdom Jonny Edgar
Italy Trident 1'47.025 0.776
16 Rafael Villagómez
Van Amersfoort Racing 1'47.086 0.837
17 Reece Ushijima
Van Amersfoort Racing 1'47.123 0.874
18 Finland William Alatalo
Switzerland Jenzer Motorsport 1'47.159 0.910
19 United States Kaylen Frederick
United Kingdom HitechGP 1'47.207 0.958
20 Pepe Martí
Spain Campos Racing 1'47.303 1.054
21 Jak Crawford
Italy Prema Powerteam 1'47.371 1.122
22 Ido Cohen
Switzerland Jenzer Motorsport 1'47.444 1.195
23 Italy Francesco Pizzi
Czech Republic Charouz Racing System 1'47.499 1.250
24 Brad Benavides
Carlin 1'47.566 1.317
25 Finland Niko Kari
Switzerland Jenzer Motorsport 1'47.646 1.397
26 Hunter Yeany
Spain Campos Racing 1'47.695 1.446
27 Malaysia Nazim Azman
United Kingdom HitechGP 1'47.702 1.453
28 Italy Enzo Trulli
Carlin 1'47.796 1.547
29 László Tóth
Czech Republic Charouz Racing System 1'47.930 1.681
30 Ayrton Simmons
Czech Republic Charouz Racing System 1'48.009 1.760

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