Reigning FIA Formula 3 champion Victor Martins set the fastest time on the final morning of the FIA Formula 2 Championship’s three-day post-season test at the Yas Marina Circuit.
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Martins, who is testing with ART Grand Prix after winning the F3 title with the French team, set a 1:35.908 just before the midway point of the session to go fastest and beat Jack Doohan’s previous test record of a 1:35.990 from yesterday morning. Doohan finished just 27 thousandths off the French driver this session.
Martins’ compatriot and ART Grand Prix team mate Théo Pourchaire took third with a 1:35.968, with which he held the top spot for 25 minutes before Martins’ session-best time.
Pourchaire had set an even faster a 1:35.717 a few minutes before Martins’ session-topping attempt, but the lap was invalidated because Pourchaire had exceeded track limits at the final corner.
Pourchaire opened proceedings on Friday morning with a 1:58.012. Though drivers slowly built up to their best laps in other sessions, this morning’s session began with a flurry of activity, and by eight minutes into the session, the 1m37s barrier had already been broken courtesy of DAMS’ Ayumu Iwasa, winner of Sunday’s Feature Race.
Ten minutes into the session, Martins led Pourchaire for an ART 1–2. The F3 champion then improved on that lap time twice before Charouz Racing System’s Roy Nissany claimed first place 32 minutes into the session with a 1:36.340.
Arthur Leclerc in the other DAMS then claimed P1 with a 1:36.014 before Nissany – who drove Leclerc’s car in the 2022 season – retook the top spot with a 1:35.978, what was then the best time of the test. The red flags came out shortly after that, 38 minutes into the session, when Ollie Bearman of PREMA had an incident in the final sector.
After the session went green at 9:52 local, Pourchaire, Martins and Doohan all eventually Nissany, who finished fourth ahead of Leclerc.
New Campos signing Kush Maini racked up 53 laps, the best of which was the 1:36.041 that gave him sixth place. Rounding out the top 10 were Carlin’s Enzo Fittipaldi on a 1:36.114; Hitech’s Isack Hadjar and MP Motorsport’s Jehan Daruvala, on an identical time of a 1:36.207; and Virtuosi’s Amaury Cordeel on a 1:36.296.
Zane Maloney in the second Carlin finished 11th, just four thousandths ahead of Campos’ Ralph Boschung, the last driver within half a tenth of Martins.
Dennis Hauger had led the session for a few moments with a 1:36.067 before losing the lap time for a track limits violation. The MP Motorsport driver’s best legal attempt, a 1:36.415, put him 13th, ahead of Iwasa, Trident’s Clément Novalak and the recovered Bearman.
Van Amersfoort Racing’s Juan Manuel Correa finished his second morning 17th, ahead of Hitech’s Jak Crawford, the final driver within a second of Martins.
A trio of rookies were next, with Roman Stanek of Trident leading Rafael Villagómez – who returned to the track for VAR after sitting out yesterday’s session – and Charouz’s Brad Benavides, who only recorded 18 laps.
After leading the field yesterday afternoon, Frederik Vesti brought up the rear today with a 1:40.144. The PREMA driver was one of several to focus on long runs during the session, recording a session-high 66 laps.
Image: Formula Motorsport Limited