It wasn’t Paul Aron's pole position in the end, but the PREMA Racing driver remains optimistic and believes he and the team carry plenty of potential into Sprint Race Saturday.

Aron had been on provisional pole several times during the session and even held the spot after the chequered flag was waived to bring Qualifying to an end. Unfortunately for the Estonian, he was judged to have exceeded track limits at Turn 9, undoing his hard work and the lap that would have been good enough for his maiden pole in FIA Formula 3.

Still, Aron says that the Spielberg weekend has been positive so far and he feels more confident than at any other point so far this season. Having had a chance to reflect on Round 6 so far, he believes there are strong results on offer in both the Sprint and Feature Races.

“It’s been a case this year of building up confidence throughout various points and then finally, once we are there with the confidence in the car, we can go for it,” Aron explained. “This was the time to go for it, we were flying all of Qualifying and we had so much potential in the car, the team was amazing all the way through, and we were fighting for pole with every lap, and then I put it all together on the last lap and it was taken away.

“It’s a big shame because I hadn’t done any track limits the whole weekend and I was basically fully behind the car in front through the last two corners and I imagine due to the dirty air, I just washed out and then got the track limits violation. So obviously I’m super disappointed because the team did an amazing job and I was fully on it and we put it all together, but nevertheless, we showed we have the pace, the car’s been really good here and we know it’s possible to overtake around this track.

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“We are still going off the second row in the Feature Race and there’s a big possibility to still go for the win. Tomorrow we are starting a bit further ahead than we would have been, so hopefully we can make use of that and bring home the maximum from this weekend.”

One aspect that might factor into proceedings during the Sprint Race is the threat of rain. Last season’s F3 weekend was impacted by wet weather, and a repeat isn’t out of the question in 2023.

Aron is hoping things stay dry, an unsurprising standpoint considering how quick he has been so far this weekend, but he isn’t opposed to a little bit of action in the rain. Otherwise, it will be a similar story of keeping the tyres in check and maximising the performance of the Pirelli rubber that counts.

READ MORE: QUALIFYING: Saucy claims first F3 pole after Aron loses lap for track limits

“I don’t mind either way. I think we have a really quick car in the dry and I’m sure that will be the case in the wet also. It will be a bit of a shame in a way if there’s lots of water. That means Safety Cars are more likely and there will be lots of spray and it will be hard to make up places. So, hopefully if it is wet, it’s just a little bit wet and if it’s dry, I’m sure we have the pace to move forward so let’s see what happens.

“Tyre degradation will be a big factor if it’s dry. We don’t have much info about how it will be but the soft tyre seems to degrade quite a lot, so let’s see. The confidence is there, the team is there and I imagine we’ll be able to move forward quite a lot tomorrow.”

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Admitting that his graduation to Formula 3 has been tricky, he says it has been a case of building up performance and scoring points in order to establish a foundation from which he can push further.

With five rounds of FIA F3 experience under his belt and with the remaining races in what is a quickfire July meaning the end of the campaign is fast approaching, Aron says now is the time to push to the maximum.

“This Championship is a lot about consistency, so at the beginning of this year, I don’t think we had the car we wanted. Also I was still building up confidence and that’s not the time to push all out because that’s when mistakes happen and that’s where you mess up a weekend.

“We’ve just been there constantly, bringing home what we can and coming into this weekend, I felt super good. We worked hard with PREMA, and they delivered the car and I delivered the performance, which was exactly the plan we had, so I’m very happy about that, it’s just a shame that it didn’t work out.”