CLICK: Full GP3 qualifying results from Hockenheim

ART's Marvin Kirchhofer still start Saturday afternoon's GP3 race 1 from pole position for the first time after out-duelling Carlin's Alex Lynn in a close-fought and exciting qualifying session.

Jimmy Erikkson (Koiranen GP) had initially gone top with a lap of 1:30.249s ahead of Emil Bernstorff (Carlin) before Nick Yelloly (Status GP) dropped the benchmark to 1:29.792 to put him 0.221s ahead of Patrick Kujala (Marussia Manor Racing).

Kirchhofer made his first appearance on provisional pole with a lap of 1:29.363s with Dean Stoneman (Marussia Manor Racing) improving to second place, but it was soon evident that this would not be fast enough to clinch the top spot: Bernstorff and Dino Zamparelli (ART) were both on faster laps and were only denied their chance to displace Kirchhofer when Alfonso Celis Jr (Starus GP) spun in the stadium and brought out yellow flags forcing them both to back off on their flying laps.

Zamparelli quickly regrouped and his next lap of 1:29.133s did the business, only to be immediately displaced by championship leader Lynn who posted a lap of 1:28.886s which looked as though it had sealed the deal and put him back onto pole after losing out at Silverstone.

Brief yellows for a spin by Hilmer Motorsport's Riccardo Agostini at turn 1 threatened to interfere with the action in the final minutes, but the track was soon clear again and GP3 new boy Mitch Gilbert went into second place for Trident after having had an earlier effort disallowed for exceeding track limits. Eriksson quickly responded and while Lynn was out of reach, he was able to take back second spot.

A final effort from Lynn reduced the pole target time to 1:28.706s and it looked as though this would be enough to secure the top spot until a final do-or-die effort from Kirchhofer saw the German take his maiden GP3 pole at his home race by just 0.059s over the Briton, with a final flurry of times succeeding in putting Yelloly and Bernstorff onto the second row of the grid for the afternoon race.

That pushed Eriksson down to fifth place in the final times, but he will not be starting in that position in the race as he has a five-place grid penalty held over from Silverstone to serve that will mean he will line-up in tenth place instead. That means Gilbert will share the third row with Zamparelli, while Stanaway will start from seventh alongside the demoted Swede.

Also having to serve five-place grid penalties in today's race are Alex Fontana (ART) and Pal Varhaug (Jenzer Motorsport). Fontana will drop from 11th to 16th on the grid, while Varhaug will be moved back from 19th to 24th.

Race 1 gets underway at 5.20pm (4.20pm BST) on Saturday afternoon and race 2 is set for 9.25am (8.25am BST) on Sunday morning. Both races will be shown live in the UK on Sky Sports F1.

See full GP3 qualifying results from Hockenheim


Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register to add your comment