F3 Sochi: Doohan claims pole from Novalak to keep title hopes alive

Jack Doohan took the final FIA Formula 3 pole position of the season at Sochi in a traffic-packed qualifying session, hotting up his title race with Dennis Hauger.

F3 Sochi: Doohan claims pole from Novalak to keep title hopes alive

It was initially thought that the Trident driver would start in second, with team-mate Clement Novalak on pole, but it was late revealed that Doohan had suffered transponder issues and took the top spot.

The Australian is now just 39 points behind title rival Dennis Hauger, who starts P9 for Sunday's feature race.

The first sprint race of the weekend, which has a reverse grid, will take place on Friday afternoon instead of Saturday amid a poor weather forecast.

The top 10 was covered by just 0.2s in a session interrupted by a red flag and plagued by the usual slow lap congestion.

Novalak will start in second, his joint-highest start of the year, while Johnathan Hoggard took his best ever grid position for Jenzer Motorsport by finishing in third.

Frederik Vesti of ART finished fourth, with team-mate Juan Manuel Correa in fifth.

Roman Stanek will start on pole for the first sprint race for Hitech Grand Prix, which will now take place this afternoon instead of tomorrow morning because of poor weather forecast at the track.

Victor Martins (MP Motorsport) will start alongside him, with Logan Sargeant of Charouz Racing System and Jak Crawford of Hitech on the second row.

Doohan was first out on track again, as he was in this morning’s practice session.

Heavy traffic while drivers attempted to create space caused frustration, with Novalak telling his team it was “crazy.”

Frederik Vesti, ART Grand Prix

Frederik Vesti, ART Grand Prix

Photo by: James Gasperotti / Motorsport Images

Doohan managed to break clear of the pack to take a flying lap, but struggled with grip, complaining of oversteer, and went wide at the exit of turn 10 before almost losing his lap time for track limits at the last corner.

Seven minutes into the session, the red flag was waved after Jonny Edgar found the wall in Sector 3, crashing into the barriers and ending his session.

Caio Collet had topped the timesheets before the stoppage, while Arthur Leclerc sat P2, with Hauger and Doohan slotted into P3 and P4 respectively.

Read Also:

The session resumed less than 10 minutes later, with most drivers continuing on the hard tyres they had started the session with.

Doohan quickly took the top of the timesheet, setting a 1m54.927s, almost 0.2s ahead of Collet.

Hauger was lucky to keep his Prema-sponsored car out of the wall after running wide in the middle of the lap while also struggling with his tyres, but only managed P13.

Victor Martins narrowly avoided contact with Ayrton Simmons into Turn 4 in an incident set to be investigated by the stewards after the session.

Much of the field pitted for a second set of hard tyres around the halfway point, before re-emerging for the last 10 minutes of the session.

Tijmen van der Helm was forced to pit with seven minutes remaining after suffering front wing damage, but was the only car affected.

With five minutes to go, Doohan’s fresh tyres allowed him to bear his previous time by almost two-and-a-half-tenths, setting a 1m54.677s, with Hoggard in second place just one-hundredth behind him.

The usual traffic chaos ensued as the drivers stacked up for their final flying laps, with Doohan sending it down the inside at one point in a move more akin to something seen in race conditions.

Novalak appeared to have snatched pole from his team-mate in the last 30 seconds with a mighty final lap before the transponder issues were revealed.

shares
comments

Related video

F3 Sochi: Collet leads MP Motorsport 1-2 in practice
Previous article

F3 Sochi: Collet leads MP Motorsport 1-2 in practice

Next article

F1 Russian GP facing Saturday rain disruption, FIA brings forward F3 race

F1 Russian GP facing Saturday rain disruption, FIA brings forward F3 race
Load comments
From zero to hero: How F3's 2021 champion bounced back Plus

From zero to hero: How F3's 2021 champion bounced back

After a disastrous 2020 in FIA Formula 3 with Hitech, Dennis Hauger began to doubt himself - with the self-belief he had built through success in junior series evaporating. But after regrouping, he stormed to the F3 title in 2021. Here’s how he did it

FIA F3
Oct 6, 2021
How Campos Racing has bounced back from its devastating loss Plus

How Campos Racing has bounced back from its devastating loss

After the sudden death of its founder in January, Formula 2 stalwart Campos Racing was left facing its hardest season to date. But new team boss Adrian Jr is determined to honour his father’s legacy and has returned the team to its winning ways

FIA F2
Sep 20, 2021
How F2 and F3's flawed format changes could prove shortlived Plus

How F2 and F3's flawed format changes could prove shortlived

After a chaotic 2020, marred by the coronavirus pandemic, the FIA brought in radical changes to Formula 2 and 3. But less than 12 months later, there are talks of them being reversed after all did not go to plan…

FIA F2
Sep 9, 2021
How the latest 'son of' youngster found his feet in F3 Plus

How the latest 'son of' youngster found his feet in F3

After a promising start to his single-seater racing career, life in the Formula 1 feeder series gave Jack Doohan a reality check. But, following a year of learning and toiling, the driver with one of the most famous surnames on the Formula 3 grid isn’t feeling the weight of expectation pushing down too hard on him any longer

FIA F3
Jun 30, 2021
The Monaco win that started another triple crown Plus

The Monaco win that started another triple crown

30 years ago, victory in the Monaco Grand Prix-supporting Formula 3 race – then a showpiece invitational event – began a young Jorg Muller’s pursuit of a unique set of street circuit wins that he’d later complete at Macau and Pau

FIA F3
May 21, 2021
How two F3 stars face new challenges from very different perspectives Plus

How two F3 stars face new challenges from very different perspectives

ART Grand Prix team-mates Frederik Vesti and Juan Manuel Correa's paths to the 2021 FIA Formula 3 Championship grid couldn’t have been further apart, but both are using the same focus for different goals

FIA F3
May 5, 2021
Why Correa's return is the feelgood story racing needed Plus

Why Correa's return is the feelgood story racing needed

Juan Manuel Correa has had a long road to recovery from that horrific day at Spa in 2019. ART's decision to give him his race return in FIA Formula 3 in 2021 is a victory in itself, but his determination will surely - in time - have him fighting for bigger things

FIA F3
Feb 2, 2021
Why Piastri's F3 title was better than results suggested Plus

Why Piastri's F3 title was better than results suggested

F3 rookie Oscar Piastri only just snatched the 2020 title with Prema Racing, but the setbacks he overcame to do so suggest that Renault's next Australian talent is one destined for the top

FIA F3
Jan 12, 2021