Leonardo Fornaroli

Fornaroli pips Mini in late scramble for pole after Meguetounif crash

Formula 3

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Leonardo Fornaroli secured pole position for the feature race for the Formula 3 round at Albert Park after the Trident driver beat Gabriele Mini by less than a tenth of a second.

Ferrari junior driver Dino Beganovic will start third on the grid for Sunday’s feature race, with Nikita Bedrin fourth and Williams junior driver Luke Browning in fifth.

Several drivers struggled to keep their cars on track during the session. Santiago Ramos, Matias Zagazeta and Nikola Tsolov all ran off during their first flying laps, while Joseph Loake and Tim Tramnitz both took trips over the grass on their second.

As drivers were pushing with around five minutes remaining in the session, Trident driver Sami Meguetounif ran wide at the exit of the final corner, crashing into the outside barrier and causing major damage to his car. Prema’s Gabriele Mini was immediately behind Meguetounif and managed to complete his push lap and jump into provisional pole position before the red flags brought a pause to proceedings.

After qualifying resumed with four-and-a-half minutes remaining, Fornaroli was one of the first drivers out onto the circuit. With a clear track in front of him, the Trident driver improved to take pole position with less than a minute remaining. Mini also improved on his final lap, despite the damaged car of Loake ahead of him who struck the wall at the final corner, but he was 0.019s slower than Fornaroli, which secured pole for the Trident driver.

Mini will start alongside him on the front row on Sunday, with the three ‘Bs’ of Beganovic, Bedrin and Browning behind them. Red Bull junior Arvid Lindblad will start sixth, ahead of Oliver Goethe and Christian Mansell in eighth.

ART driver Nikola Tsolov qualified sixth but will drop to ninth on the grid for the feature race after he was handed a three-place grid penalty for a concerning incident in the practice session when he collided with Alex Dunne. Martinus Stenshorne will start tenth with Laurens van Hoepen 11th and Mari Boya on reverse grid pole for the sprint race in 12th after losing his best time for exceeding track limits.

Max Esterson and Sophia Floersch were investigated by the stewards over an alleged impeding incident, but no further action was taken.

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Formula 3 Australia qualifying results

14Leonardo FornaroliTrident
22Gabriele MinìPrema
31Dino BeganovicPrema
427Nikita BedrinPHM
514Luke BrowningHitech
625Nikola TsolovART
73Arvid LindbladPrema
810Oliver GoetheCampos
923Christian MansellART
1015Martinius StenshorneHitech
1124Laurens Van HoepenART
1212Mari BoyaCampos
1328Josh DufekPHM
1417Charlie WurzJenzer
1511Sebastian MontoyaCampos
1620Noel LeonVan Amersfoort
179Alex DunneMP
186Santiago RamosTrident
198Kacper SztukaMP
2018Max EstersonJenzer
2119Matías ZagazetaJenzer
227Tim TramnitzMP
2329Callum VoisinRodin
2421Sophia FloerschVan Amersfoort
255Sami MeguetounifTrident
2630Piotr WisnickiRodin
2716Cian ShieldsHitech
2831Joseph LoakeRodin
2926Tasanapol InthraphuvasakPHM
3022Tom SmithVan Amersfoort

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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One comment on “Fornaroli pips Mini in late scramble for pole after Meguetounif crash”

  1. some racing fan
    23rd March 2024, 0:11

    How is Tsolov not banned for the whole season after that? He took him out on purpose!

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