New Zealander Mitch Evans stormed to pole in today’s qualifying session at the Valencia Street Circuit in a sweltering session and he will be joined by his MW Arden teammate David Fumanelli on the front row. GP3 Series leader Aaro Vaino will start in P3.
The thirty minute qualifying session got underway with temperatures of 24 degrees, as the heat intensified on and off the track for the fierce battle for pole. The Lotus GP trio were first to make their way onto track with Conor Daly on a mission as the American has a ten place grid penalty applied to his qualifying position for Race 1 later today. After the initial installation laps, it was Evans who led the pack in front of Tio Ellinas (Marussia Manor Racing) until Kevin Ceccon (Ocean Racing Technology) and Fumanelli displaced the Cypriot.
Evans was the first driver to break into the 1’58s barrier and held position at the top of the timings at the midway point. With 12 minutes remaining, Vainio snatched provisional pole just one tenth faster than the New Zealander. Daly rose to P4 with Fumanelli going P1 until his teammate improved on his time by a mere 0.033s.
In the final three minutes, Ceccon grabbed P3, demoting Vainio but the Finn battled back to reclaim his position. Traffic played a big part towards the ends of the session with Jenzer Motorsport’s Patric Niederhauser having stopped on the start/finish straight which caused the yellow flags to come out meaning drivers had to lift off on their final attempt.
Evans clinched his third pole of his GP3 career with Fumanelli achieving a career best in second. Vaino in P3 starts ahead of Ceccon, Antonio Felix Da Costa (Carlin) and Ellinas. Daly qualified P7 but will line up 17th. Matias Laine (MW Arden), Marlon Stockinger (Status Grand Prix) and Daniel Abt complete the top ten.