Dennis leads Prema 1-2-3 in European F3 qualifying at Portimao

FIA Formula 3 European Championship, round 9, Portimão (POR)

Jake Dennis beat team-mates Nick Cassidy and Lance Stroll as Prema claimed a dominant 1-2-3 in Formula 3 European Championship qualifying at Portimao.

Dennis, fastest in second practice, jumped to the top of the timesheets in the final minutes with a 1m42.217s to snatch pole from Stroll.

“I am a bit shocked, really, because my lap wasn’t that good at all,” said Dennis. “I approached the last sector two tenths down, but somehow, I managed to find three tenths in the last sector.”

Cassidy, making his European F3 return with the Italian squad, started slowly, but surged up the order late on to claim second, a mere 0.061s shy of Dennis’ pole time.

That dropped Stroll, who scored his first podium last time out in Austria, down to third, as Prema completed a top-three lockout.

Motopark racer Markus Pommer and Signature’s Alexander Albon both made late improvements to claim fifth and sixth on the grid for Saturday’s opening race.

Rookie Charles Leclerc improved late on to go sixth, with title challenger Felix Rosenqvist the slowest of the four Prema cars in seventh.

Points leader Antonio Giovinazzi was just ninth in the Jagonya Ayam-backed Carlin effort, behind early pacesetter George Russell.

Red Bull-backed racer Calumn Allot, who topped opening practice, rounded out the top 10 for Carlin.

Alexander Sims, another driver making a comeback, marked the reformed Hitech GPs first qualifying session with 16th fastest.

Image courtesy of FIA Formula 3 European Championship

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