Marcus Armstrong achieved his first pole positon of the season in a frantic FIA Formula 3 Qualifying session at the Red Bull Ring. The PREMA Racing ace was able to hold on to P1 ahead of Max Fewtrell and Jüri Vips, despite a late red flag interrupting his session.
Qualifying started with all 30 cars swarming onto the short Spielberg circuit and it was the continually dominant PREMAs who set the standard, with Jehan Daruvala and Robert Shwartzman enjoying an early tussle out in front.
Armstrong added a third PREMA to the party, but the trio were later broken up as ART Grand Prix displayed their much-improved pace. David Beckmann moved up to third, with teammates Fewtrell and Christian Lundgaard slipping in behind him.
Shwartzman’s session was cut short as he suffered a technical hitch and was forced to pull over onto the bank at Turn 4, coming to a swift halt. Following this, Armstrong took the reins and ensured a PREMA remained on top, nabbing P1. Further drama ensued when Logan Sargeant took flight at the final turn and thundered into the barriers, bringing out a red flag. Thankfully, the American walked away from his car unscathed.
Ahead of the red flag, Armstrong had set a purple first sector and lost momentum as he looked to cement P1. Meanwhile, Vips and teammate Leonardo Pulcini managed to complete their laps and hauled themselves up to third and fourth ahead of the brief break in action.
The session resumed with just four minutes left on the clock and Vips wasted no time in getting the running back underway, narrowly missing out on pole by 0.180s, leaving Armstrong clinging onto the position.
Daruvala and Lundgaard were each able to set fast final laps and haul themselves back up the order, but neither times were as impressive as Fewtrell’s who claimed P2 at the death, just 0.123s short of Armstrong.
This meant that the Kiwi maintained pole, with the Briton from ART in second and Vips third. Daruvala and Lundgaard completed the top five, ahead of Jake Hughes, Pulcini, Pedro Piquet, Beckmann and Sebastian Fernandez. However, the Spaniard will drop three places due to a penalty earned in Free Practice. Fewtrell and Vips will both look to contend with the power of Armstrong’s PREMA in Race 1 tomorrow morning at 10.25am.