F2

De Marco takes pole for race one at Brno

Nicola De Marco grabbed the pole position in the closing stages of the session for the first of the two FIA Formula Two Championship races at Automotodrom Brno with a fast lap of 2:03.484. "I'm very happy," said De Marco. "I really enjoyed the...

Nicola De Marco grabbed the pole position in the closing stages of the session for the first of the two FIA Formula Two Championship races at Automotodrom Brno with a fast lap of 2:03.484.

"I'm very happy," said De Marco. "I really enjoyed the wet conditions. I've worked very hard to get this place, especially after Valencia, so I'm really happy to have come away with such a strong result."

"The weather has been very strange! I hope to have a good race tomorrow, and then another good qualifying and race on Sunday. I'm not sure whether I should be hoping for rain or not!" he added.

Fellow Italian Mirko Bortolotti came through to join De Marco on the front row. "This is my first time here, so I struggled a bit early on," said Bortolotti.

"The first session was quite short, and the second session I had a lot of problems - from my side, not the car. I am happy with second anyway because I didn't think after the second session I could be starting on the front row."

Finnish driver Henri Karjalainen gradually improved throughout the day to claim third. He commented, "I'm very happy with my position, especially because in Valencia my best in qualifying was 19th"

"Coming into Brno I knew I had to concentrate more on qualifying and post good laps, and I am very happy that it worked," added the Finn.

The circuit is in the south-east of the Czech Republic near the historic city of Brno, the second-largest in the county, and currently plays host to the World Touring Car Championships, MotoGP and World Series by Renault. The Formula Two championship has chosen the track to host its third and fourth rounds.

The early practice sessions were dominated by Mikhail Aleshin.

In the first session he was one of a handful of drivers to post a representative time before the rain came down, with De Marco showing promise with the second fastest time. The session was stopped and then restarted but the now-wet track was not going to give the times it did before the downpour.

Aleshin clearly found a good wet setup on the car and got a clean lap to take the fastest time in the final practice session but after this early dominance the Russian could only manage fourth in the qualifying session for the first of the races.

The rain continued to fall during the qualifying session but never as hard as it did during the practice sessions but even so the session was red flagged after spins for Jens Hoing and Jason Moore, and when Henry Surtees left the track and ended up in the gravel with just a couple of minutes remaining the session was brought to a close. Armaan Ebrahim, Natacha Gachnang and Alex Brundle also had a hard time with the wet conditions and all spun.

Canadian Robert Wickens, the current championship leader, could only manage tenth fastest some 1.625 seconds behind De Marco.

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