Oliver Bearman denied Enzo Fittipaldi pole position by just 0.077s with a 1:23.546 in the final moments of Qualifying. The Rodin Carlin provisionally held the top spot until the PREMA Racing driver’s late effort was just good enough to beat the Brazilian to P1. Jack Doohan will be hoping to reignite his season, going from P3 for the Feature Race on Sunday.
Victor Martins led the field out of the pitlane as the light went green to get Qualifying underway. The Frenchman set the initial benchmark but that was swiftly beaten by those behind. Fittipaldi briefly held the top spot until Doohan laid down a 1:24.078 to go three-tenths clear and Ayumu Iwasa slotted into P2, leaving the Rodin Carlin driver third. Dennis Hauger was 0.4s back from Doohan in fourth, just 0.002s clear of Kush Maini in P5.
PREMA Racing opted to run both of their drivers in the gap after the first efforts were complete, joined on track by only the MP Motorsport drivers. Hauger took the top spot with a 1:23.923 while Jehan Daruvala lifted himself up to third. Bearman posted his first lap to go fourth while teammate Frederik Vesti was 0.7s down on pole and eighth after his initial attempt.
With 10 minutes left, the next flurry of laptimes arrived and it was Théo Pourchaire that went to the top of the times next. That was until Fittipaldi set a 1:23.623 to put himself P1 once again. Martins moved up to P4 while Juan Manuel Correa and Richard Verschoor were sixth and seventh for Van Amersfoort Racing.
Into the final five minutes and Iwasa was up to P2, 0.116s off Fittipaldi, while Bearman set purple sectors further back. The Briton went to the top with a 1:23.546 just as Doohan had gone fastest of all in the middle sector. The Australian ended up a tenth adrift at the line on his last effort.
Fittipaldi was narrowly beaten in second at the chequered flag with Doohan and Iwasa on the second row, third and fourth respectively, Pourchaire was fifth with Hauger sixth. Martins, Vesti, Jak Crawford and Amaury Cordeel completed the top 10, with the Invicta Virtuosi Racing driver lining up on reverse grid pole tomorrow.
The Formula 2 Sprint Race is set to get underway at 14:15 local time on Saturday.