Russian Nikita Mazepin has kept his challenge for the final GP3 race alive by claiming pole position in Abu Dhabi.
The ART Grand Prix driver took pole position with a late challenge for pole, setting the fastest lap on his final lap of the qualifying session. His championship rival and team-mate Anthoine Hubert will start third after leading at the half way point of the session.
Mazepin claimed the final pole position before the series becomes FIA F3 to reduce his points deficit to 28 points behind Hubert with 44 still avaliable over the two races.
Mazepin will share the front row with Campos’ Leonardo Pulcini, who was six hundredths of a second away from his second consecutive pole position, having claimed the top spot in Russia after Mazepin was disqualified.
Behind the championship fight came the other two ART cars with Jake Hughes and Callum Ilott continuing their fight from the Macau GP last weekend with fourth and fifth respectively.
The in-form David Beckmann was disappointed with sixth, with the question of whether he could have challenged for the title with a full season at Trident on everyone’s lips. The German lead a train of Trident-run cars of Guiliano Alesi and Ryan Tveter. Alesi has dominated practice but could not challenge the top six during qualifying.
Campos’ Simo Laaksonen and Jenner Motorsport’s Juan Manuel Correa rounded out the top ten.
MP Motorsport series debutant Jehan Daruvala had shown well in practice with fourth but fell to 15th by the end of qualifying after not improving on his final run. Sacha Fendstraz is also making his debut this weekend, finishing three places further back in 18th.