Trident’s David Beckmann claimed his first pole in GP3 this afternoon at Spa, defeating the challenge from all four ART Grand Prix cars throughout the session.
Beckmann, who joined Trident after Alessio Lorandi graduated to Formula 2, took the four points for pole position for the first time in his career with a time of 2:04.335 to finish a tenth and a half clear of championship leader Anthoine Hubert.
The German has been in inspired form since being dropped by Jenzer Motorsport mid-season for Jannes Fittje. The seat at Trident was offered straight away to Beckmann, who repaid the team’s faith with two fastest times in practice in Belgium and Hungary but then placed himself in the perfect position for tomorrow’s opening race of the weekend.
Championship leader Anthoine Hubert continued his form with second on the grid ahead of all his championship rivals, especially Callum Ilott, who finished the session in sixth.
A brilliant late effort by Pedro Piquet means he lines up directly behind his Trident team-mate, Beckmann, in third whilst ART’s Jake Hughes set a lap only one thousandth of a second off Piquet for fourth. Hughes will be looking for luck to go his way after a poor season so far.
Russian Nikita Mazepin made it an ART 4-5-6 by getting the better of Ilott around the mid-way point of the session, whilst Campos Racing’s challenge will be lead by Simo Laaksonen, who equalled his best qualifying of the season in seventh, previously set at the opening round in Barcelona.
Whilst Beckmann took pole and Piquet third, Trident did not quite have the pace shown in practice, where they claimed a top four lock-out, as the experienced Ryan Tveter and Giuliano Alesi has to settle for eighth and ninth on the grid. Alesi did have a quicker time set during the session but had the time removed for track limits at Radillon (not Eau Rouge!). Both drivers will need a good start to keep themselves in with a shot at victory around the 4.3 mile circuit.
Joey Mawson outperformed his team-mates again at Arden International by rounding out the top ten and only three tenths off pole position. Leonardo Pulcini, third in the championship coming into the Spa weekend, had a poor session and will start from 12th whilst a strong performance by debutant Richard Verschoor saw the Dutchman outqualify MP Motorsport team-mates Devlin DeFrancesco and the experienced Niko Kari.