Sochi GP3: Mazepin beats Pulcini to grab pole

Russian driver Nikita Mazepin took pole position in the GP3 Series at Sochi, the Racing Point Force India junior driver edging three drivers by under a tenth of a second.

Sochi GP3: Mazepin beats Pulcini to grab pole

ART Grand Prix driver Mazepin, second in the championship, delivered a rapid lap as the sun set to edge out Campos Racing's Leo Pulcini, Callum Ilott (ART) and Trident's Giuliano Alesi.

Although the race started in light, it was almost completely dark as the drivers still managed to improve with later runs despite decreased visibility.

It was an important four points for Mazepin as it edges him ahead of Ilott, his teammate who had been tied with him for second in the standings with four races left.

Points leader Anthoine Hubert could only manage fifth with his last lap despite leading most of the session in his ART car.

The fourth ART car of Jake Hughes was in contention until the final lap, when he clipped a kerb and ran wide at Turn 2.

He headed Ryan Tveter and Simo Laaksonen, both enjoying a strong run of form, while Richard Verschoor took eighth in his best qualifying since joining the series at Spa from the Formula Renault Eurocup.

Aussie Joey Mawson (Arden) and Hughes rounded out the top 10.

David Beckmann stopped with what appeared to be an engine failure, bringing his run of two poles in a row to an end.

Rookie Sacha Fenestraz, replacing Julien Falchero at Arden, managed 13th.

UPDATE: Mazepin was stripped of his pole position as his best laptime was deleted due to track limits. He will now line up on the grid eighth as Pulcini inherits pole.

Qualifying results

Cla Driver Team Time Gap
1 Italy Leonardo Pulcini  Spain Campos Racing 1'52.586 0.017
2 United Kingdom Callum Ilott  France ART Grand Prix 1'52.655 0.086
3 France Giuliano Alesi  Italy Trident 1'52.664 0.095
4 France Anthoine Hubert  France ART Grand Prix 1'52.798 0.229
5 United States Ryan Tveter  Italy Trident 1'52.826 0.257
6 Finland Simo Laaksonen  Spain Campos Racing 1'52.844 0.275
7 Richard Verschoor  MP Motorsport 1'52.865 0.296
1 Russian Federation Nikita Mazepin  France ART Grand Prix 1'52.569  
9 Australia Joey Mawson  United Kingdom Arden International 1'53.178 0.609
10 United Kingdom Jake Hughes  France ART Grand Prix 1'53.218 0.649
11 Brazil Pedro Piquet  Italy Trident 1'53.262 0.693
12 United States Juan Manuel Correa  Switzerland Jenzer Motorsport 1'53.362 0.793
13 Sacha Fenestraz  United Kingdom Arden International 1'53.435 0.866
14 Colombia Tatiana Calderon  Switzerland Jenzer Motorsport 1'53.661 1.092
15 David Beckmann  Italy Trident 1'53.765 1.196
16 Canada Devlin DeFrancesco  MP Motorsport 1'53.992 1.423
17 France Gabriel Aubry  United Kingdom Arden International 1'54.007 1.438
18 Mexico Diego Menchaca  Spain Campos Racing 1'54.614 2.045
19 Germany Jannes Fittje  Switzerland Jenzer Motorsport 1'54.846 2.277
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