Magny Cours: Qualifying report

French drivers to the fore in Magny-Cours qualifying The was a strong French presence at the top of the timesheets in qualifying for the third round of the Superfund World Series by Nissan at Magny-Cours, with Bruce Jouanny and Bruno Besson ...

French drivers to the fore in Magny-Cours qualifying

The was a strong French presence at the top of the timesheets in qualifying for the third round of the Superfund World Series by Nissan at Magny-Cours, with Bruce Jouanny and Bruno Besson taking their first ever pole positions.

Carlin Motorsport's Jouanny was the fastest man in the dry opening session for race one, although heavy overnight rain left the track damp in places. Nevertheless, the former British Formula 3 driver was one of a few drivers to better his Friday practice time to deny Gabord Competicion's Franck Montagny his fourth pole of the season.

Jouanny said: "I thought the lap I did was quick, but I was not sure that it would be good enough for pole. The car was fantastic, very easy to drive. Everybody in the team has done a great job."

Championship leader Montagny had a difficult session, suffering with a sticking throttle that caused him to go off the track on three separate occasions, but he still did enough to claim a front row spot. Racing Engineering's Stephane Sarrazin completed a French clean sweep of the top three places, and the former Toyota F1 tester could even have taken pole had his best lap not been cut short by the second of two red flag periods.

Narain Karthekeyan made it a good session for Carlin Motorsport with fourth, just 0.011s ahead of Montagny's team-mate Heikki Kovalainen and the second Racing Engineering entry of Bas Leinders.

Bruno Besson was a competitive seventh, but things got even better for the Saulnier Racing driver in race two qualifying. A brief downpour in between the 30-minute sessions left the track too wet for slick tyres to begin with. However, it dried gradually and in the closing minutes the times tumbled as slicks became the order of the day.

A good call from Besson's pit meant he was one of the first to change, and with more heat in his rubber than his rivals he took full advantage and his first ever World Series pole.

Besson said: "This is a very good result for the team at its home race and in front of the sponsors and guests. I think we have made a good step forward. Although I'm not thinking about the win at the moment, I do think the top five is possible."

Enrique Bernoldi changed tyres shortly after Besson and put a great lap together to secure a front row slot. Sarrazin was third again, and once again ahead of Karthikeyan in fourth. Vergani Formula's Angel Burgueno was a career-best fifth, while Montagny failed to switch to slicks in time, and despite topping the times for most of the session, wound up sixth.

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About this article
Series Formula V8 3.5
Drivers Enrique Bernoldi , Bruce Jouanny , Stéphane Sarrazin , Heikki Kovalainen , Bas Leinders , Bruno Besson , Angel Burgueño
Teams Carlin , Racing Engineering