Piccione pips Piquet to pole number two

Clivio Piccione snatched pole position for round 16 of the Avon Tyres British Formula Three Championship, by just two-thousandths of a second from Nelson Piquet Jr in the closing moments of the second session this afternoon.

A dry line began to appear in the last few minutes of the session, causing a flurry of drivers to head into the pit-lane to switch to slick tyres. Lucas Di Grassi was the first to make the change over and, with just a handful of minutes left to go, went third fastest.

Piquet had been in the bottom half of the order but put in a flying lap good enough to put him onto provisional pole position. Piccione left his timing until the last second, being one of the last cars to cross the line to take the chequered flag and snatching pole from the Brazilian.

"It needed some big risks to get the time -- there was still a bit of water and you just had to throw the car over the wet parts and onto the dry and hoped that it stuck," said Piccione.

Adam Carroll suffered as the track dried. He was second on the timing screens with just minutes to go in the session, but ended up in 12th place as the final laps were reeled off by the rest of the field. James Rossiter ended the session in fifth place, giving him the best chance of catching Piquet tomorrow to narrow the gap in the title race.

Parente ended up in third place with Di Grassi sandwiched between him and Rossiter. Australian Will Power took sixth place.

Ryan Lewis once again starred in the Scholarship Class, ending the session seventh overall. However, Stephen Jelley was the first Scholarship Class car to spring a surprise on the Championship Class grid when he went sixth fastest midway through the session. Tenth place overall was his final position, just half a second away from Lewis.

Ronayne O'Mahony was unable to respond to the dry runners and had to settle for third place ahead of Calasan.