Abu Dhabi GP3: Albon takes pole to reduce Leclerc's points lead

Alexander Albon gave his GP3 title chances a boost by claiming pole at the Abu Dhabi decider, with rival and ART team-mate Charles Leclerc back in fifth

Abu Dhabi GP3: Albon takes pole to reduce Leclerc's points lead

The four points Albon scored for pole brought him to within 25 of Leclerc with 44 available from the weekend's two races.

It also ended Ferrari junior Antonio Fuoco's championship hopes - as the Italian needed pole to keep his mathematical chance alive.

Instead Trident driver Fuoco proved off the pace throughout qualifying, only briefly breaking into the top 10 and ending up 11th.

Albon and Leclerc's team-mate Nyck de Vries had held provisional pole with a 1m55.991s after the first runs, but he was pushed back to fourth in the final shootout.

Jake Dennis was first to nip ahead, before Albon produced a 1m55.274s to beat the Arden driver by 0.240 seconds.

Dennis's team-mate Jack Aitken then slotted in third.

As his main rivals pitted, Leclerc stayed out to try to squeeze more life out of his tyres in a final pole bid.

He started well with a new benchmark in the first sector, then fell away and failed to improve overall.

Leclerc's fellow Haas Formula 1 test driver Santino Ferrucci produced his best GP3 qualifying performance so far to join him on row three.

Ferrucci's Hockenheim race winning DAMS team-mate Jake Hughes ended up down in 20th after an unusual incident when he was sent out of the pits with a blower device still attached to his car.

A consequent unsafe release penalty means Hughes will have to start from the pitlane.

QUALIFYING TIMES:

Pos Driver Team Time Gap
1 Alexander Albon ART Grand Prix 1m55.274s -
2 Jake Dennis Arden International 1m55.514s 0.240s
3 Jack Aitken Arden International 1m55.604s 0.330s
4 Nyck de Vries ART Grand Prix 1m55.629s 0.355s
5 Charles Leclerc ART Grand Prix 1m55.660s 0.386s
6 Santino Ferrucci DAMS 1m55.678s 0.404s
7 Arjun Maini Jenzer Motorsport 1m55.683s 0.409s
8 Kevin Jorg DAMS 1m55.892s 0.618s
9 Steijn Schothorst Campos Racing 1m55.981s 0.707s
10 Nirei Fukuzumi ART Grand Prix 1m56.094s 0.820s
11 Antonio Fuoco Trident 1m56.145s 0.871s
12 Artur Janosz Trident 1m56.154s 0.880s
13 Alex Palou Campos Racing 1m56.155s 0.881s
14 Matt Parry Koiranen GP 1m56.256s 0.982s
15 Giuliano Alesi Trident 1m56.361s 1.087s
16 Konstantin Tereschenko Campos Racing 1m56.563s 1.289s
17 Sandy Stuvik Trident 1m56.570s 1.296s
18 Tatiana Calderon Arden International 1m56.729s 1.455s
19 Akash Nandy Jenzer Motorsport 1m56.732s 1.458s
20 Jake Hughes DAMS 1m56.995s 1.721s
21 Matevos Isaakyan Koiranen GP 1m57.513s 2.239s
22 Alessio Lorandi Jenzer Motorsport - -


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