After an incredible qualifying session in Formula 3 on Friday at Spa that saw interchangeable weather conditions throughout, Trident’s Jack Doohan claimed his first pole position of the season. The Australian driver currently sits in second in the FIA Formula 3 Championship standings coming into Round 5.
By Tyler Foster
“It’s been a long time coming this season, especially after missing out on pole by just 0.006 seconds in the first round”, Doohan told selected media including F1 Feeder Series. “Very happy to get it and especially here at Spa, with the challenging conditions and the way the circuit is it’s very thrilling and on the limit.”
Doohan set the pole time of 2:21.953 within the first 5 minutes of the half an hour qualifying session. The rain started early in the session but worsened throughout until the last 10 minutes, however the second sector remained too wet for most drivers to improve their times. A red flag within the last couple of minutes put an end to any last gasp flying laps.
“We did the one lap at the beginning [of qualifying] knowing that there is probably some rain coming, so I gave it my everything and luckily it paid off.”
“Obviously at one point it was the only lap that we were going to get and with the conditions it was. You want to go as quickly as you can but obviously you don’t want to ruin the lap because then the conditions might have gotten wetter and you then don’t have a banker lap. Luckily my sector two was quite mega which allowed me a gap over the rest of the field.”
“I asked the team what the conditions were going to be like and they said there was a thunderstorm. I thought it was very important just to go out straight away and set a time as quick as possible, which is what we did. In the end it paid dividends.”
“I thought that with it drying out that people were going to go quicker, but I thought there was no reason why I then couldn’t go quicker either.”
After his pole he now sits on 93 points but is still 59 points behind current championship leader, Prema Racing’s Dennis Hauger.
Alongside Doohan, MP Motorsport’s Victor Martins and ART’s Alex Smolyar make up the top three for Sunday’s race.
“Obviously it’s only qualifying but I’m thankful for Sunday’s race. We know how quick those Prema cars are in the race conditions so for me I will just focus on myself. As long as I and the team have done the best we can do for the remainder of the season then we have to be satisfied with that.”
For Doohan, this weekend presents an opportunity to start a comeback in the hunt for the Formula 3 title. Championship leader Dennis Hauger qualified a disappointing P14 and will be behind Doohan for the start of both Race 1 and 3. Jack was asked whether the impact of Hauger’s poor qualifying affects his strategy going into the races.
“No, I don’t think it changes it at all. Going in to the weekend it was just focusing on myself and ourselves as a team and doing the best job possible whether Dennis is at the front or outside that top 12. Our goal to reel in the title fight stays the same.”
The conditions for the rest of the weekend seem to mirror that of Friday, with rain constantly threatening to have an impact. The chance of a wet-dry race is very likely.
“It’s going to be important to really manage the conditions well and know when to push and where to push. Tomorrow if it is drying conditions and you push too much at the start then you can destroy the tyre and not have any for the rest of the race. I’m quite confident. Before the others put the new tyre on in practice we were the quickest. I am keen for either condition.”
The Australian needs a strong weekend to capitalise on the possibility of Hauger dropping major points. He was asked about his chances of fighting for the title despite the large deficit to Hauger.
“I’m cutting it a little fine for my liking, but its better late than never. It’s only qualifying but it shows how quickly the tables can turn. We just have to keep pushing and maximise the points from this weekend. The package is clearly strong here so I just need to fulfil it and bring home top result.”
Race 1 will be at 09:35 BST (10:35 CEST) on Saturday.
Race 2 will be at 16:55 BST (17:55 CEST) on Saturday.
Race 3 will be at 09:40 BST (10:40 CEST) on Sunday.
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