Estoril: Saturday qualifying report

Local hero Tiago Monteiro is ready for a double win at the Estoril races of the World Series by Nissan tomorrow. The Carlin Motorsport driver has claimed pole position twice on a highly succesful Saturday. Monteiro is third in the points...

Local hero Tiago Monteiro is ready for a double win at the Estoril races of the World Series by Nissan tomorrow. The Carlin Motorsport driver has claimed pole position twice on a highly succesful Saturday. Monteiro is third in the points standings, and his cause looks even more rosy as leader Heikki Kovalainen has been pushed out of the top three on the starting grid for both races.

Monteiro found the circuit very tricky this morning in the first qualifying session, saying it had become a lot slower than in Friday's testing. Times did indeed rise, though the gaps were extremely close among the top four. Just a tenth split Monteiro, rising team-mate Olivier Pla, and the Pons Racing pair of Adrian Valles and Kovalainen. It is unusual for Valles to be ahead of Kovalainen, and Pla's presence at the sharp end could make for an interesting Pons versus Carlin battle in the sprint race.

Afternoon qualifying was much faster, and the times were also a lot more spread out. The result was again a fastest tour for Monteiro, but this time he was half a second up. Both Pla and Valles dropped away in this session (to 12th and 10th respectively), which helped Narain Karthikeyan (RC Motorsport) take a front-row position ahead of Epsilon Euskadi's Jean-Cristophe Ravier. Kovalainen was again fourth -- this time the best part of a second back.

The man second in the title race, Enrique Bernoldi, has had an unhappy weekend and qualified thirteenth and ninth. Bernoldi has just returned from testing BAR-Honda's formula one car last week, but maintains that it hasn't been a problem stepping into the slightly less powerful World Series car!

An interesting development in the category this morning was the departure of Spanish driver Roldan Rodriguez from the Porfesa Competicion team this morning. Rodriguez, who has struggled against his team-mate Felix Porteiro in recent races, believes he is not getting the same equipment at the team and chose not to continue after another difficult day on Friday.

Milos Pavlovic was the man smiling in the World Series Lights paddock, after the Yugoslav repeated Monteiro's feat of a double pole position. Pavlovic (Vergani Formula) leads the very competitive championship and will be hoping to put himself almost beyond reach in tomorrow's races. Simons Abadie (Epsilon Euskadi) will start behind him in both events.

-rpm-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Formula V8 3.5
Drivers Enrique Bernoldi , Narain Karthikeyan , Tiago Monteiro , Heikki Kovalainen , Adrian Valles , Milos Pavlovic
Teams Carlin