Pau F3: Ilott beats Norris to Race 1 pole

Prema driver Callum Ilott has grabbed pole for Saturday’s opening race of European Formula 3's Pau Grand Prix round.

Pau F3: Ilott beats Norris to Race 1 pole

The Prema driver was well ahead in the first qualifying group, which proved enough for pole as he wasn't surpassed by second-group pace-setter Lando Norris on the narrow street circuit.

Because of the short and tight nature of the historic track, cars were split into two groups for qualifying. With free practice on Friday morning affected by rain, the two 20-minute qualifying segments ended up being the first action on a fully dry track.

Series frontrunner Ilott, who had also set the quickest times during free practice, headed qualifying group A with a 1m09.514s effort, over three tenths clear of Motopark's championship leader Joel Eriksson.

Van Amersfoort Racing's Joey Mawson was third in the group, ahead of Guan Yu Zhou, Nikita Mazepin and Ralf Aron, with Mick Schumacher and Jehan Daruvala further down the order.

In group B, usual suspects - Carlin duo Norris and Jake Dennis and Prema's Maximilian Gunther - set the early pace, all three hovering around the 1m10s mark.

Gunther was the first to dip below that barrier with a 1m09.753s, followed by Dennis with a 1n09.884s.

Norris then improved his time to go quickest in the group with a 1m09.724s, 0.029s faster than Gunther but two tenths shy of Ilott’s benchmark in group A. Dennis improved slightly to a 1m09.856s but remained in third, ahead of Hitech's Jake Hughes.

The second session was then red-flagged with two and a half minutes to go. The stoppage especially hurt Dennis, who was two tenths up on his best time when the running was interrupted.

The subsequent green flag left enough time on the board for one final run but none of the drivers managed to improve their times.

As a result, Ilott will start from pole in the Saturday morning race, with Norris joining him on the front row.

Eriksson and Gunther will line up on the second row, followed by Mawson and Dennis.

Zhou will start from seventh alongside Hughes, with Mazepin and Pedro Piquet rounding out the top 10.

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