Sochi F3: Doohan takes pole in title showdown with Hauger

Jack Doohan took the final FIA Formula 3 pole position of the season at Sochi in a traffic-packed qualifying session, hotting up his title race with Dennis Hauger.

Sochi F3: Doohan takes pole in title showdown with Hauger

It was initially thought that the Trident driver would start in second, with teammate Clement Novalak on pole, but it was late revealed that Doohan had suffered transponder issues and took the top spot.

The Australian is now just 39 points behind title rival Dennis Hauger, who starts P9 for Sunday's feature race.

The first sprint race of the weekend, which has a reverse grid, will take place on Friday afternoon instead of Saturday amid a poor weather forecast.

The top 10 was covered by just 0.2s in a session interrupted by a red flag and plagued by the usual slow lap congestion.

Novalak will start in second, his joint-highest start of the year, while Johnathan Hoggard took his best ever grid position for Jenzer Motorsport by finishing in third.

Frederik Vesti of ART finished fourth, with teammate Juan Manuel Correa in fifth.

Roman Stanek will start on pole for the first sprint race for Hitech Grand Prix, which will now take place this afternoon instead of tomorrow morning because of poor weather forecast at the track.

Victor Martins (MP Motorsport) will start alongside him, with Logan Sargeant of Charouz Racing System and Jak Crawford of Hitech on the second row.

Doohan was first out on track again, as he was in this morning's practice session.

Heavy traffic while drivers attempted to create space caused frustration, with Novalak telling his team it was "crazy."

Doohan managed to break clear of the pack to take a flying lap, but struggled with grip, complaining of oversteer, and went wide at the exit of turn 10 before almost losing his lap time for track limits at the last corner.

Seven minutes into the session, the red flag was waved after Jonny Edgar found the wall in Sector 3, crashing into the barriers and ending his session. Caio Collet had topped the time sheet before the stoppage, while Arthur Leclerc sat P2, with Hauger and Doohan slotted into P3 and P4 respectively.

The session resumed less than 10 minutes later, with most drivers continuing on the hard tyres they had started the session with.

Doohan quickly took the top of the timesheet, setting a 1m54.927s, almost 0.2s ahead of Collet.

Hauger was lucky to keep his Prema out of the wall after running wide in the middle of the lap while also struggling with his tyres, but only managed P13.

Victor Martins narrowly avoided contact with Ayrton Simmons into Turn 4 in an incident set to be investigated by the stewards after the session.

Much of the field pitted for a second set of hard tyres around the halfway point, before re-emerging for the last 10 minutes of the session.

Tijmen van der Helm was forced to pit with seven minutes remaining after suffering front wing damage, but was the only car affected.

With five minutes to go, Doohan's fresh tyres allowed him to beat his previous time by almost two-and-a-half-tenths, setting a 1m54.677s, with Hoggard in second place just one-hundredth behind him.

The usual traffic chaos ensued as the drivers stacked up for their final flying laps, with Doohan sending it down the inside at one point in a move more akin to something seen in race conditions.

Novalak appeared to have snatched pole from his teammate in the last 30 seconds with a mighty final lap before the transponder issues were revealed.

Sochi F3 - Qualifying results:

Cla   Nº   Driver   Entrant   Time   Delay 
Clément Novalak Trident 1'54.648  
Jack Doohan Trident 1'54.677 0.029
27  J.Hoggard Jenzer Motorsport 1'54.687 0.039
Frederik Vesti ART Grand Prix 1'54.712 0.064
J.M.Correa ART Grand Prix 1'54.755 0.107
18  Caio Collet MP Motorsport 1'54.772 0.124
Dennis Hauger Prema Racing 1'54.826 0.178
10  Jak Crawford Hitech Grand Prix 1'54.853 0.205
29  Logan Sargeant Charouz Racing System 1'54.859 0.211
10  17  Victor Martins MP Motorsport 1'54.959 0.311
11  12  Roman Staněk Hitech Grand Prix 1'54.977 0.329
12  Arthur Leclerc Prema Racing 1'55.089 0.441
13  15  Oliver Rasmussen HWA Racelab 1'55.166 0.518
14  David Schumacher Trident 1'55.228 0.580
15  21  Lorenzo Colombo Campos Racing 1'55.254 0.606
16  11  Ayumu Iwasa Hitech Grand Prix 1'55.302 0.654
17  Olli Caldwell Prema Racing 1'55.329 0.681
18  14  Matteo Nannini HWA Racelab 1'55.419 0.771
19  A.Smolyar ART Grand Prix 1'55.420 0.772
20  22  Amaury Cordeel Campos Racing 1'55.466 0.818
21  26  Calan Williams Jenzer Motorsport 1'55.503 0.855
22  24  Kaylen Frederick Carlin Buzz Racing 1'55.680 1.032
23  16  R.Villagómez HWA Racelab 1'56.007 1.359
24  28  Filip-Ioan Ugran Jenzer Motorsport 1'56.263 1.615
25  19  T.van der Helm MP Motorsport 1'56.525 1.877
26  30  Ayrton Simmons Charouz Racing System 1'56.527 1.879
27  20  László Tóth Campos Racing 1'56.600 1.952
28  23  Ido Cohen Carlin Buzz Racing 1'57.029 2.381
29  31  Zdeněk Chovanec Charouz Racing System 1'57.164 2.516
30  25  Jonny Edgar Carlin Buzz Racing 2'24.507 29.859
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Sochi F3: Collet leads MP Motorsport 1-2 in practice
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