GP3: Vainio claims Monaco pole in style

Lotus GP’s Aaro Vainio takes maiden pole in Monte Carlo

Aaro Vainio is a happy man, the Finn will start the first ever Monaco GP3 Race from pole position after a stunning lap in a qualifying session that was divided into two groups. Kevin Ceccon was fastest in Group A and will line up second on the grid ahead of Tamas Pal Kiss (Atech CRS GP) in 3rd.

The Lotus GP ace’s fastest lap of 1:28.008 which was set in Group B in the second qualifying group, was almost a second faster than Ocean Racing Technology’s Ceccon. The first session saw MW Arden’s Mitch Evans and Ceccon and swapping fastest laptimes with the pace between the two, too close to predict who would come out on top.

Matias Laine (MW Arden) hit the barrier at Rascasse which brought the yellow flags out whilst many drivers were setting purple times on their lap, this also meant a premature end to the session for the Finn. The fight continued between Ceccon and Evans until Conor Daly (Lotus GP) shot to P2. The Italian reclaimed his provisional pole position back, whilst Evans went P2, 0.186s off Ceccon. Ceccon was the only driver in Group A to set a time in the 1.28s bracket.

Marlon Stockinger rose to P3 in the dying moments just as Marussia Manor Racing’s Fabiano Machado made contact with the unforgiving barriers around the infamous street circuit in the final few minutes of qualifying, therefore yellow flags were waved and drivers’ were unable to improve on their current times. Group A finished as Ceccon, Evans, Stockinger, Daly and William Buller.

Group B’s qualifying session began a few moments after and it Carlin’s Antonio Felix Da Costa setting the initial pace. Tio Ellinas went P2 and then Vainio rocketed to P1. Robert Cregan spun his Ocean Racing Technology car and yellow flags were waved whilst the car was lifted away, making it challenging for drivers who were on a quicker lap at the time of the incident.

With just five minutes remaining of qualifying, Vainio further improved his laptime and was not headed at the top of the timesheets. There was action a plenty for the contest behind him as Daniel Abt went second fastest until Felix Da Costa stole that position from him. David Fumanelli (MW Arden) and Pal Kiss also had the same idea and were jockeying it out, taking turns going P2, until the Hungarian edged out the Italian. Vainio’s best lap was 0.115s faster than Pal Kiss. Group B finished as Vainio, Pal Kiss, Fumanelli, Abt and Felix Da Costa.

With the grid to be formed in two rows in order from the sessions, Vainio takes the coveted pole position from Ceccon with Pal Kiss, Evans, Fumanelli, Stockinger, Abt, Daly, Felix Da Costa Buller completing the top ten. Buller has a five place grid penalty from Barcelona so will not start from the top ten. Race 1 starts at 12.30 CET, it’s sure to be a lively one with the eager young talents of the future, keen to make a name for themselves around the Principality!

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