F2, Imola: Vips prevails in tricky Qualifying to take Feature Race pole
Ayumu Iwasa on the front row
Hitech Grand Prix’s Jüri Vips took the first pole position of his Formula 2 career on Friday evening, as he mastered the difficult conditions at the Imola Circuit, setting a lap time of 1:40.221.
The Estonian driver will start Sunday’s Feature Race from the head of the pack and will have fellow Red Bull junior driver Ayumu Iwasa for company on the front row. The Japanese driver missed out on pole by just over one-tenth of a second.
More rain hit the track prior to the start of the session, forcing the drivers to use wet tyres as they departed the pit lane.
Ralph Boschung, who set the pace in the afternoon practice session, was the first driver to lay down a marker but after the opening round of laps, it was Clément Novalak who was the fastest driver.
Van Amersfoort Racing’s Jake Hughes then moved to the top of the timesheet, before being displaced by Vips.
Shortly after Vips set his latest improvement, the one and only red flag of the session was deployed, after Campos Racing’s Olli Caldwell spun off the road in the first sector.
As the session resumed, drivers returned to the circuit to prepare for the final push laps, with Boschung setting the benchmark even lower.
However, with six minutes remaining, Vips closed out a lap that would not be beaten, despite several improvements from his rivals inside the top 10.
Virtuosi Racing’s Jack Doohan, who took pole position at the maiden Qualifying session of the year in Sakhir, produced an impressive late effort to go third ahead of Boschung.
Reigning FIA Formula 3 Champion Dennis Hauger secured his best Qualifying result of the year in fifth, leading F2 veteran Roy Nissany in the DAMS car.
Théo Pourchaire was seventh, ahead of the PREMA Racing car of Jehan Daruvala and Hitech’s Marcus Armstrong, who recovered to a top 10 result after crashing out of the afternoon’s practice session.
Armstrong will start Saturday’s Sprint Race from the front row, alongside Logan Sargeant who took reverse grid pole by ending Qualifying in 10th place.
The Sprint Race will get underway at 17:55 local time tomorrow.
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