Sainz and Cliffe take Snetterton poles

Carlos Sainz Jnr held off fellow Red Bull Racing Junior Team driver Antonio Felix Da Costa by just 0.01 seconds in a tricky final round of qualifying.

Carlos Sainz Jnr held off fellow Red Bull Racing Junior Team driver Antonio Felix Da Costa by just 0.01 seconds in a tricky final round of qualifying.

Behind, it was Tristan Cliffe in third who stole the Cup Class pole from championship leader Alex Craven as rain threatened. Craven lines up fifth on the grid behind Lotus F1 Team Junior and Lanan Racing team-mate for the weekend Esteban Ocon. The third of the championship hopefuls Alice Powell could only manage eighth, translating to fifth in class.

Mark Harrison was as high as third in class and sixth overall in the closing stages until Henry Chart dropped him out of the top six. Chart had spent much of the early session as the fastest of the Cup Class runners until Craven found his stride to go fastest. Cliffe then found an extra half a second as the track came back to him to leapfrog Cravento pole.

Olly Rae improved late on to claim ninth and Watts climbed into the top 10 by dislodging the returning Gino Ussi. Tony Bishop and Nick Robinson improved with their final lap of the session but it wasn't enough for a top 10 start. Frank Thomas completes the grid.

At the top of the timesheets it was Carlos Sainz who settled in on provisional pole early on. FelicxDa Costa stayed out for the whole session as he reacclimatises to the Carlin Dallara F312, and came within one hundreth of a second of demoting his team-mate. Ocon looked set for third until Cliffe's late improvement moved him to the outside of row two.

Craven's second-in-class start gives him the upper hand in the championship fight, helped by the presence of two cars between him and his closest rival Powell.

F3 Cup round nine top 10

  1. Carlos Sainz jnr (Invitational) - 1:44.483
  2. Antonio Felix Da Costa (Invitational) - +0.010
  3. Tristan Cliffe - +2.250
  4. Esteban Ocon (Invitational) - +2.403
  5. Alex Craven - +2.890
  6. Henry Chart - +3.465
  7. Mark Harrison - +3.635
  8. Alice Powell - +3.682
  9. Olly Rae (Trophy) - +4.116
  10. Robbie Watts - +4.555

 

Race one starts at 1630, follow @F3Cup for live updates and click here for live timing.