Spa GP3: Trident's Luca Ghiotto beats ART's Esteban Ocon to pole

Championship leader Luca Ghiotto stormed to his fourth GP3 pole position of the season at Spa, edging out Mercedes protege Esteban Ocon by 0.171 seconds

Spa GP3: Trident's Luca Ghiotto beats ART's Esteban Ocon to pole

Trident driver Ghiotto, who looked ominous as he set the pace in Friday practice, didn't initially set the fastest time but was consistently in the top 10 during the opening stages of the session.

It wasn't until after the mid-session tyre change that Ghiotto began to find his pace and he snatched pole away from Emil Bernstorff late in the session with a time of 2m04.943s.

Several drivers tried to top the Italian's time in the dying moments but no one could mount a serious challenge, as he repeated the Spa pole he had sensationally achieved on his GP3 debut 12 months earlier.

ART Grand Prix's Ocon, who before his final run was down in sixth, was the closest challenger and did set the fastest time early in the session but couldn't do enough to overhaul Ghiotto.

Ocon's ART team-mate Marvin Kirchhofer was also consistently running in the top six for the entirety of the session but finished just over two tenths back on the polesitter.

Arden International's Bernstorff was fourth ahead of Ferrari junior Antonio Fuoco, who almost replicated Carlin team-mate Jann Mardenborough and Adderly Fong's Friday incidents at Eau Rouge by running wide.

Fortunately the FIA has since removed the orange sausage kerb that sent Mardenborough and Fong airborne, and the Italian was able to hold his slide and carried on unscathed.

Hungary Sunday race winner Kevin Ceccon held on to sixth, while Koiranen GP driver Matt Parry jumped into the top 10 late on despite running down the order for much of the session.

Parry's team-mate Jimmy Eriksson was ninth just behind Jenzer Motorsport driver Matheo Tuscher.

Alfonso Celis Jr in the third ART car rounded out the top 10 despite almost making contact with the barrier on his flying lap at the unnamed downhill left-hander at Turn 9.

Nissan protege Mardenborough just missed out on a top 10 finish after running at different times from the rest of the field.

The Brit was second before several drivers improved on their final runs, demoting him to 11th ahead of Pal Varhaug who had a big moment at Pouhon in which his Jenzer Motorsport car briefly caught fire as he spun.

QUALIFYING TIMES:

Pos Driver Team Time Gap
1 Luca Ghiotto Trident 2m04.943s -
2 Esteban Ocon ART Grand Prix 2m05.114s 0.171s
3 Marvin Kirchhofer ART Grand Prix 2m05.144s 0.201s
4 Emil Bernstorff Arden International 2m05.308s 0.365s
5 Antonio Fuoco Carlin 2m05.458s 0.515s
6 Kevin Ceccon Arden International 2m05.591s 0.648s
7 Matt Parry Koiranen GP 2m05.618s 0.675s
8 Matheo Tuscher Jenzer Motorsport 2m05.669s 0.726s
9 Jimmy Eriksson Koiranen GP 2m05.704s 0.761s
10 Alfonso Celis ART Grand Prix 2m05.834s 0.891s
11 Jann Mardenborough Carlin 2m05.869s 0.926s
12 Pal Varhaug Jenzer Motorsport 2m05.931s 0.988s
13 Seb Morris Status Grand Prix 2m05.938s 0.995s
14 Alex Palou Campos Racing 2m05.939s 0.996s
15 Mitch Gilbert Carlin 2m06.065s 1.122s
16 Ralph Boschung Jenzer Motorsport 2m06.110s 1.167s
17 Artur Janosz Trident 2m06.314s 1.371s
18 Alex Fontana Status Grand Prix 2m06.317s 1.374s
19 Beitske Visser Trident 2m06.373s 1.430s
20 Adderly Fong Koiranen GP 2m06.537s 1.594s
21 Alex Bosak Arden International 2m06.538s 1.595s
22 Zaid Ashkanani Campos Racing 2m06.922s 1.979s
23 Sandy Stuvik Status Grand Prix 2m07.106s 2.163s

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