Eriksson takes first pole at Silverstone
Swedish driver Jimmy Eriksson achieved his maiden pole in GP3 with a best laptime of 2:05.322 in a difficult qualifying session in the wet. Series leader Alex Lynn will join the Koiranen GP ace on the front row with Marvin Kirchhöfer heading the second row in third position.
The thirty minute qualifying session got underway with fine drizzle after heavy rain had fallen overnight. The 27 cars fed onto the Silverstone circuit but the session was red flagged due to an incident between the two newcomers Mitchell Gilbert (Trident) and Sebastian Balthasar (Hilmer Motorsport). The clock was stopped with 26 minutes remaining.
Once Gilbert’s Trident machine was returned to the pitlane, the session resumed. As the drivers got to grips with the conditions and found the limits, there were several spinners with Riccardo Agostini having a small moment at Turn 7 and Eriksson at Turn 2. The Swede was first to set a competitive time before Lynn bettered his time. Mathéo Tuscher and Santiago Urrutia also spun but were able to continue as the times began to improve.
Fastest in Free Practice yesterday was Nick Yelloly and the Status Grand Prix driver grabbed P1, with Lynn improving but only to P2. Yelloly’s teammate Richie Stanaway produced a good lap to demote Lynn to third as the session hit the midway point.
The conditions continued to prove challenging with the changing conditions making it very tricky for the drivers. Stanaway went one better to sneak into P1 above his teammate by a tenth of a second posting the fastest middle sector. But Lynn who had patiently sat in the pits was about to clock a blinding lap, setting sector one and two in purple on the timing screens and lapping a second quicker than Stanaway. His teammate Emil Bernstorff soon followed suit into second before ART Grand Prix’s Marvin Kirchhöfer shot into P2.
Arden International’s Jann Mardenborough was on his best lap and managed to save his car from heading into a spin as he crossed the start/finish line to move up to fourth. With one minute remaining Eriksson lit the timing screens purple in sector two and three to snatch provisional pole.
At the chequered flag Eriksson held on for his debut pole in the category ahead of Lynn, Kirchhöfer and Dino Zamparelli. Mardenborough recorded his personal best qualifying of fifth in front of Bernstorff, Stanaway, Yelloly, Agostini and Alfonso Celis. Jr. Five British drivers will start from the top ten in their home race.
Eriksson has now closed the margin in the Drivers’ Standings to just ten points to the current leader Lynn, make sure you watch Race 1 at 16.20 later today for the next exciting instalment of the GP3 Series.