Invicta Virtuosi Racing's Jack Doohan secured the final pole position of the 2023 season with a 1:35.567, beating out Alpine Academy stablemates Victor Martins and Kush Maini at Yas Marina. In the title fight, Théo Pourchaire has a difficult weekend ahead of him after missing the top 10 and ending Qualifying down in 14th position. Direct rival Frederik Vesti will start tomorrow’s Sprint Race from the reverse grid front row after ending the session in ninth.

Trident’s Roman Stanek was the first to get a time on the board with a 1:37.591. His effort didn’t stay top for long as Ayumu Iwasa went quickest with a 1:37.181, three tenths ahead of Amaury Cordeel.

Martins jumped straight back into things after topping Free Practice, launching himself 0.489s clear of the DAMS’ driver on a 1:36.692. Doohan sliced the ART Grand Prix driver’s advantage to two tenths, as Ralph Boschung and Maini slotted both Campos Racing cars inside the top four with their first laps.

Despite dropping to P5, Iwasa headed the title contenders, ahead of Vesti down in eighth, whilst Pourchaire found himself languishing outside the top 10 in 13th.

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Strengthening his hold on P1 on his second run, Martins bettered his personal best by 0.341s. Despite a scrappy middle sector, Doohan closed back up to within five thousandths of the Frenchman. Maini also went less than a tenth off provisional pole in third, as Vesti improved to sixth.

After a brief break in the pitlane, the field were back out with 16 minutes remaining. Iwasa regained the fastest time on a 1:36.085, and Martins’ response left him 0.008s adrift of the DAMS driver.

However, Doohan was on a charge, breaking into the 1:35s and rocketing up into provisional pole, two tenths ahead of Maini. Martins and Iwasa tried to find an answer for the Australian but couldn’t. Doohan showed no signs of slowing down, bettering his previous effort to snatch pole by over two tenths.

Maini claimed third ahead of Rodin Carlin’s Zane Maloney, who equalled his best Qualifying result in F2. Iwasa took the fifth-fastest time ahead of Dennis Hauger, Richard Verschoor and Isack Hadjar.

Vesti kept himself in the title hunt in ninth and will start Saturday’s Sprint Race on the front row alongside reverse grid polesitter Enzo Fittipaldi. A late improvement wasn’t enough for Pourchaire and the ART driver will line-up P14 for both races.

The lights will go out for the 23-lap Yas Marina Sprint Race at 16:20 local time.