Written by Juan Arroyo
ART's Grégoire Saucy claimed the top spot in the dying moments of FIA Formula 2 qualifying at Spielberg as PREMA Racing's Paul Aron was demoted to fourth place from pole after exceeding track limits.
Caio Collet was the first driver to start the session, setting a benchmark time of 1:21.078. However, he quickly dropped down the order as Aron took the lead with a time of 1:20.578.
On his second attempt, Aron improved to 1:20.521, but he was narrowly beaten by his teammate Dino Beganovic, who secured first place by a margin of just 0.003 seconds. As the initial sets of tires began to degrade, many drivers opted to come in for a new set. However, track limits at Turn 10 became an issue, catching out several drivers.
O'Sullivan and Martí held the crucial 12th place, which determines the front starter for Saturday's Sprint Race, at different points during the session. However, with 10 minutes remaining, Kaylen Frederick took possession of it after Martí's lap was also removed for exceeding track limits.
Drama ensued as most of the field took to the track simultaneously, causing Hitech Pulse-Eight's Sebastian Montoya to avoid the traffic and move up to P14.
In the final moments of qualifying, Bortoleto, Beganovic, Saucy, and Aron all traded provisional pole position. However, it was Aron who emerged on top with a time of 1:20.283 when the chequered flag fell.
Later, Aron's pole lap was removed due to exceeding track limits, promoting Saucy to pole position, his first of the season, with a time of 1:20.457. PREMA's Beganovic and championship leader and Trident driver Bortoleto followed in second and third place, respectively.
Leonardo Fornaroli's solitary lap was also removed for exceeding track limits, and he was not included in the official qualifying results as his time was outside the 107% threshold of 1:26.088.
Full Qualifying Results: