IMOLA, ITALY - APRIL 22: Zane Maloney of Barbados and Trident (3) drives on track during qualifying ahead of Round 2:Imola of the Formula 3 Championship at Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari on April 22, 2022 in Imola, Italy. (Photo by Joe Portlock - Formula 1/Formula Motorsport Limited via Getty Images)
Trident’s Zane Maloney took his maiden pole position in Formula 3’s first ever qualifying session at Imola.
After delayed session times and starts due to the wet conditions at the track, Formula 3 finally was underway for their Qualifying session. Drivers had completed less than ten laps during the practice sessions earlier, so there was clear hesitation as the countdown began.
The Jenzer cars were the first out on track, with Ido Cohen being the first driver to set a lap. He was quickly displaced on the timing sheet by his teammate, William Alatalo.
Arthur Leclerc in the Prema car was the first driver to break 1m 46s, setting a lap time of 1:45.611 and darting to the top of the list.
Then Carlin’s Zak O’Sullivan held P1 for a while, until Isack Hadjar topped his time, the first to set a time quicker than 1m 45s.
Leclerc quickly came back to top the timings again, setting a lap time of 1:43.904, and O’Sullivan was close behind him.
With the session a little less than halfway done, the three Prema cars came into the pits. Most of the grid followed soon after, everyone waiting for the right time to go back out again.
With 12 minutes left to go, the Premas of Leclerc and Jak Crawford came out again. As they were joined by more and more drivers traffic started to become an issue. But first, Leclerc managed to improve on his provisional pole time and set a 1:43.619.
The clock was ticking slowly down, and with ten minutes to go the top five were Leclerc, Roman Stanek, Gregoire Saucy, Hadjar, and O’Sullivan.
A yellow flag in sector 3 quickly turned into a red one, as Leclerc collided with Carlin’s Enzo Trulli and went into the gravel.
Trulli lost control of the car going into turn 7, as the grip on the track was still quite unpredictable, and managed to knock into Leclerc, who in turn was buried deep in the gravel off the track. The Stewards called the only red flag of the session to recover Leclerc’s car and clean up the track.
The remaining drivers made their way back onto the track with under five minutes left in the session. As they began to set their final lap times, almost everyone improved. Driver after driver rushed to the top of the timing sheet, only to be displaced seconds later by someone else.
In a somewhat confusion filled ending, Maloney ended up on pole position, having set a lap time of 1:41.297.
Right behind Maloney was Stanek, and Crawford was behind him. The rest of the top ten were Saucy, Bearman, Martins, Hadjar, O’Sullivan, Collet, and Maini.
Penalties have yet to be determined, as the incident between Leclerc and Trulli is being investigated.
While Maloney nabbed the two points available for the polesitter, Franco Colapinto will start on pole for Saturday’s Sprint Race.