Hauger beats Vesti to pole with late lap at the Red Bull Ring

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PREMA Racing’s Dennis Hauger delivered pole for Red Bull on home soil, with the Red Bull junior snatching top spot from Frederik Vesti late on in Qualifying at Spielberg.

The ART Grand Prix driver looked on course for his second pole in a row, only for Hauger to improve on his final run and knock him off top stop by 0.028s. The second ART of Alex Smolyar finished behind them in third.

Clément Novalak led the field out onto a packed Red Bull Ring, with just 4.318km of track to share between 30 cars. Roman Stanek was the first of the field to set a competitive laptime, posting 1:21.082, but the Hitech Grand Prix driver’s tour was swiftly bettered by his teammate, Ayumu Iwasa, who dropped the leading time down to 1:20.704.

The times continued to tumble as the session reached the halfway point, with Round 2 polesitter Vesti vaulting to the top of the charts, recording 1:20.153. The Dane was followed by Jak Crawford, who jumped to second.

A quick trip into the pits for fresh Pirelli rubber was followed up by a red flag with eight minutes to go, as Ido Cohen pulled up on the main straight with a problem.

Frederik Vesti ART Grand Prix Formula 3 Red Bull Ring Qualifying

A mad scramble ensued with the grid returning with just six minutes to set a competitive time. Jack Doohan was thankful for some clean air, with those behind him severely bunched up, but the Trident couldn’t make it count and managed just P7.

Vesti found a decent slipstream and returned to provisional pole with 1:19.743, but the length of the Red Bull Ring meant there was just enough time for one final tour and the Dane couldn’t improve any further.

It was a case of roles reversed from Round 2, when Vesti nabbed P1 from Hauger in the dying stages of Qualifying. On this occasion, it was Dennis Hauger who improved late on, with the Norwegian stealing pole in the final minutes with a time of 1:19.726.

Caio Collet – who set the Formula 3 track record at Spielberg in pre-season testing – briefly jumped to first, but saw his time deleted for exceeding track limits and dropped back down to P4, behind Alex Smolyar.

Crawford claimed his best Qualifying at this level with fifth, 11 places higher than his previous best position. Novalak was sixth, with Free Practice pace-setter Olli Caldwell back in eighth, directly in front of his PREMA teammate Arthur Leclerc, who also secured his best Qualifying. Completing the top ten was title challenger Victor Martins.

Finishing 12th overall, Charouz Racing System’s Logan Sargeant will start ahead of HWA RACELAB’s Matteo Nannini in Saturday’s reverse grid Race 1, which takes place at 10.35am local time.

Alexander Smolyar ART Grand Prix Formula 3 Red Bull Ring Qualifying