Juri Vips became the driver to beat in the opening session in Le Castellet, clocking in a 1:46.501 to go over a tenth and a half clear of the pack in Free Practice. Ayumu Iwasa secured the second fastest time ahead of Frenchman, Theo Pourchaire.
Although there are 167 different configurations of the Circuit Paul Ricard, the 22 car field took to the track to find the limit of it. However, that task is easier said than done as thermal tyre degradation left their rear wheel squealing for traction.
Hauger got things underway with the first representative lap being laid down moments before Frederik Vesti brought a quick pause to proceedings. The ART GP driver, already experienced a delayed start to his running and shortly after getting out on track he came to a halt on the Mistral Straight.
With 20 minutes left of the crucial 45 minute session, Pourchaire set his eyes on beating Iwasa to the fastest time. Despite the grid utilising the hard compound, keeping the tyres in their performance window proved a challenge especially in the final sector which saw several moments of oversteer.
The full top 10 are- P1: Vips, P2: Iwasa, P3: Pourchaire, P4: Drugovich, P5: Daruvala, P6: Verschoor, P7: Armstrong, P8: Doohan, P9: Sargeant and P10: Fittipaldi.
Logan Sargeant left it as late as possible to snatch pole position for the Feature Race in Le Castellet, narrowly edging out Ayumu Iwasa and Frederik Vesti by the slimmest of margins.
Iwasa held provisional pole entering the final laps and Vesti couldn’t quite match him, ending up 0.023s down on the DAMS driver’s effort. Sargeant pulled out the time though, just 0.006s of it, but that was good enough for pole position Sunday.
Drivers took extra care on their preparation laps to keep the soft compound as intact as possible for their flying laps with temperatures remaining high for the Qualifying session.
Drivers boxed with 15 minutes remaining for the customary change of tyres. Enzo FIttipaldi didn’t join them though and was out of the car unable to take part in the final 10 minutes due to an issue on his car. Hauger joined the Brazilian on the sidelines shortly afters, as he came to a halt on the track and bringing out the red flags with just over seven minutes left of qualifying.
The full top 10 are: P1: Sargeant, P2: Iwasa, P3: Vesti, P4: Doohan, P5: Pourchaire, P6: Drugovich, P7: Vips, P8: Armstrong, P9: Lawson and P10: Daruvala.