Barnicoat to start third in Austria

Ben Barnicoat will begin the fourth weekend of the FIA European Formula 3 Championship from third place in the opening race at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria.

The Racing Steps Foundation-backed driver fared well in the now dry conditions following overnight rainfall which left the circuit damp for the opening free practice session earlier in the day.

But on slick tyres the Hitech GP racer impressed to set the fourth provisional quickest time with 1m 24.024s, with championship leader, Prema’s Lance Stroll behind in fifth. Barnicoat’s team-mate, George Russell, will begin from seventh place.

The quickest time and pole position was provisionally handed to Motopark’s Joel Eriksson who was also quickest in the earlier final free practice session. Eriksson set a best time of 1m 23.834s, with the top 10 drivers separated by half a second.

However, following the end of the day's qualifying sessions, Eriksson's fastest time was removed after he was adjudged to have exceeded track limits.

That would have promoted Prema's Maximilian Gunther to pole position but his quickest time was also removed following a yellow flag infringement. That therefore elevated Van Amersfoort Racing's Callum Ilott on to pole, ahead of Gunther.

Ben Barnicoat also benefits, moving up a single place to third on the grid.

The grid for the second and third race will be decided in the second qualifying session later on Friday.