Joel will line up in third place on the grid for tomorrow’s opening race of the weekend at Pau, as the current championship top four locked out the front two rows in Friday qualifying.
Running in the first of the two qualifying groups, Joel took second behind Callum Ilott in his session, the British Prema Powerteam racer – whose street racing pedigree includes a front row qualifying performance at last year’s Macau Grand Prix – heading the times with a 1m09.514s best.
While Joel ended up second after fending off the threatening Joey Mawson and Guan Yu Zhou, Ilott’s time crucially proved quicker than the fastest runner in the second group – Lando Norris – could manage, leaving Ilott on pole for Race 1 with Norris second and Joel third.
Maximilian Günther ensured that the quartet of drivers currently occupying the top four positions in the standings will be starting in the top four tomorrow, the German lapping just 0.029s slower than Norris in the second group to end up fourth on the grid.
Next session: Race 1, 11.10 local time (GMT+02:00) tomorrow.
“I have to be content with this today. I gave it my all and it was not a bad lap – Callum was just a little bit too quick today. I lost all of the time in sector two, so I know what part of the track I need to work on tomorrow. Third on the grid is not a bad place to be, and with a good start, everything can happen. The pace will be rapid up front, but I’m ready to take the fight.”
RESULTS – Qualifying 1 (grid for Race 1)