GP3

Charlie Eustice  |    25 November 2016

Alexander Albon takes pole for Abu Dhabi feature race


ART's Alexander Albon has taken pole position in the final GP3 qualifying session of the season in Abu Dhabi.

With a time of 1:55.274, Albon gives himself a fighting chance against Charles Leclerc for the title going into the last two races of the season, with the Monegasque driver down in fifth place.

The Thai driver faced an uphill struggle in the final round of the season, with a 29-point gap to team mate and series points leader Leclerc looking near insurmountable.

However, pole position gives Albon four points, narrowing the gap to 25, the going rate for a race win.

It looked like Jake Dennis could be in contention to take pole position for Arden after a good run with only a few minutes to go, but Albon pipped him but just over two tenths.

After Albon set provisional pole, he came into the pits, and Dennis and Leclerc attempted one final run after the chequered flag, but as expected, the tyres were not durable enough for two consecutive fast laps, and things stayed as they were, and Albon celebrated in Parc Ferme.

DAMS' Jake Hughes endured a tough session, with his engine seemingly overheating late in the session after a cooling fan was left in his left sidepod, causing smoke to pour from the exhaust. The Briton ended the session in 20th place, ahead only of Matevos Isaakyan, and Alessio Lorandi, who did not set a time.

Behind Albon at the top finished Dennis and Jack Aitken for Arden, followed by ART pair Nyck de Vries and Leclerc. Haas F1 Team development driver Santino Ferrucci will line up sixth, ahead of Arjun Maini, Kevin Joerg, Steijn Schothorst, and the fourth and final ART of Nirei Fukuzumi, who completed the top ten.

Trident's Antonio Fuoco, who needed absolute maximum points in all sessions to take the title this weekend, finished the session 11th and is now eliminated from the title fight as a result of not taking pole position, making it a two-way team mate fight for the championship.


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