Jehan Daruvala created history by becoming the first Indian racer to occupy pole position in the FIA Formula 3 European Championships in the qualifying session for Round 2 in Monza, Italy on Friday.
Jehan put in a near perfect lap to claim his maiden pole position in F3 in only his second event. His lap time of 1:44.105s was a mere three hundredths of a second ahead of his Carlin teammate Lando Norris.
He will start on pole for race 1 while an additional qualifying session after it will decide the grid for races 2 and 3.
The 18-year-old Indian's feat came over 16 years after Narain Karthikeyan was on pole in Macau while competing in the erstwhile British F3 Championship.
The thrilling qualifying session for Round 2 of the Championship at the Grand Prix Circuit of Monza saw British racer Callum Illot on top of the time sheet as the chequered flag fell.
Jehan was still out on track and yet to complete his flying lap around the 5.793km iconic Formula 1 circuit where average speeds are near the 200km/hr mark and top speed at 255 km/hr.
The ultra high competitiveness of the series can be gauged from the fact that the top 3 racers were within a tenth of a second and the top six within less than half a second.
Earlier in the weekend, Jehan showed his pace on a track that he certainly seemed to love. He was sixth and third in the two practice sessions of the weekend.
"I like this track a lot. This is where I had my first pole in Formula Renault. The car felt good and we made a few changes after practice which worked well. Importantly I got a good slipstream and also ensured that I took no risks, once I saw I had a good time on my last lap," said Jehan, a Sahara Force India Academy racer.
Jehan's rookie year in F3 got off to a solid start in the previous weekend at Silverstone where the multiple Indian and Asian Karting champion earned himself two rookie podiums.
Formula 3 is considered one of the most crucial steps en route to Formula 1. Numerous racers have moved from F3 to F1 directly with Max Verstappen being the most recent notable example.
F1 world champions like Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher and many more proved their capabilities in F3 before moving on to F1.