F2

Hegewald impresses with Spa pole position

Tobias Hegewald has been in top form today at the Formula Two event in Spa-Francorchamps, setting fastest times in both practice sessions and now taking the pole position for tomorrow afternoon's race, the fifth of this inaugural F2 season and the...

Tobias Hegewald has been in top form today at the Formula Two event in Spa-Francorchamps, setting fastest times in both practice sessions and now taking the pole position for tomorrow afternoon's race, the fifth of this inaugural F2 season and the first of two this weekend.

Hegewald, who scored his first points with a seventh place in last weekend's second race at Brno, put his familiarity with the daunting Spa circuit to good use clocking a lap of 2:08.890 to take the pole with a margin of 0.091 seconds over Andy Soucek.

"I tried my best to do a good lap and I didn't make any mistakes," the young German said after qualifying. "After the red flag I was worried that I had wasted my new tyres, and I tried to save them as best as I could on the way back to the pits."

The red flag was caused by Sebastian Hohenthal spinning his car at Eau Rouge mid-session, effectively breaking the qualifying into two parts.

"After the red though I think the track was in perfect condition," Hegewald continued. "It's my favourite circuit and I love driving here, so I'm really happy to be starting from pole tomorrow -- hopefully I can finish where I start!"

Soucek, fresh off a second-race victory at Brno, was close to Hegewald on one of his most successful circuits, but not quite able to match his rival's speed. Still, he took half a second off the gap he had had to Hegewald in today's practice sessions.

"We made a few changes for qualifying and the new rubber made a massive difference which we hadn't expected, so that was a nice surprise," said Soucek. "I have a good position for tomorrow, and with Bortolotti and Aleshin down the order there is a chance to score some valuable points."

Robert Wickens took third, 0.375 seconds behind Hegewald. The Canadian is looking to recover from a disastrous Brno weekend that saw him shut out of the points after taking both poles and victories at the series' Valencia season-opener.

"After the weekend I had in Brno I'm just glad to be back in a press conference," Wickens smiled. "I got caught out a little by the red flag, and then my next lap had the potential to be better until I caught traffic, so I'm a little disappointed. However, a top three is still good for the race tomorrow, and I'll be treating the race as if it were my last - points are so critical, and in the end it could be one point that decides the champion."

Both Soucek and Wickens are focused on the championship fight, as the two are fifth and second in the points, respectively. Championship points leader Mirko Bortolotti languishes back in 22nd place on the grid, and third-place man Mikhail Aleshin was unable to take part in qualifying at all after a heavy crash at Turn 15, just before Stavelot.

Julian Jousse, though, will be looking to mix it up with Soucek and Wickens. The Frenchman held the provisional pole position briefly early in the session, but ended up fourth on the grid, the same position he holds in the points standings.

The race will start at 1;15 PM local time tomorrow, after the morning qualifying session, which will set the grid for Sunday's second race.

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Series F2
Drivers Robert Wickens , Mikhail Aleshin , Tobias Hegewald , Andy Soucek , Sebastian Hohenthal , Mirko Bortolotti