First pole for Parente! Quickest in group two, Alvaro Parente (Tech 1 Racing) tamed Monaco's tricky street circuit to take his first World Series Formula Renault 3.5 pole position. The Portuguese driver will be joined on the front row...
First pole for Parente!
Quickest in group two, Alvaro Parente (Tech 1 Racing) tamed Monaco's tricky street circuit to take his first World Series Formula Renault 3.5 pole position. The Portuguese driver will be joined on the front row by Sebastian Vettel (Carlin Motorsport), who dominated the first group. Qualified on row two, Monaco driver Clivio Piccione (RC Motorsport) will attempt to get the better of the championship's top two drivers!
As a one-off for Monaco, qualifying took the form of two 25-minute sessions. Some damp areas were still in evidence as the first group took to the track. First out, Sebastian Vettel took the early lead. With 10 minutes gone, Milos Pavlovic (Draco Racing) responded with a 1'28''739 lap. Whilst Michael Herck (Red Devil Comtec) crashed at Sainte-Devote, Vettel hit back again, regaining provisional pole as he dipped under the 1'28'' mark. At the half-way stage, the German headed the timesheets, followed by Pavlovic, Fauzy, Molina and Hanley, quickest in Thursday's free practice.
Vettel stayed on the pace and continued to improve on each lap: 1'26''918, 1'26''367, 1'26''340, 1'26''012 and finally a 1'25''966 with just two minutes left! Meanwhile, Pavlovic and Hanley fought it out for second spot, only a few thousandths separating them. The Brit wasted one of his laps due a minor error, whereas the Serbian produced a flawless performance.
In the closing minutes, Julien Jousse (Tech 1 Racing) span his car at Rascasse. His thoughts still on that incident, Jousse then hit the barriers at Sainte-Devote a few seconds later. But he still qualified -- just -- ahead of Daniil Move (Interwetten.com). Ben Hanley snatched 3rd place away from Davide Valsecchi (Epsilon Euskadi) at the death. Guillaume Moreau (KTR) completed the top five ahead of Fairuz Fauzy (Cram Competition), who also enjoyed a little spin!
After a short break, the other fifteen drivers took to the track. With just six minutes gone, Clivio Piccione (RC Motorsport) took control. The Monaco driver improved again, setting a time of 1'26''953. Meanwhile, others ran into difficulties: Mikhail Aleshin (Carlin Motorsport) span at Mirabeau, Alvaro Barba (Draco Racing) hit the barriers at Sainte-Devote and Clivio Picionne got it all wrong at Rascasse.
At the 10-minute mark, Parente grabbed the lead. He then improved to 1'26''435. Pushing hard, Piccione clipped the barrier at Sainte-Devote' before then losing his rear wing courtesy of the barriers at Anthony Nogh's. Whilst Aleshin made a costly error at Loews, Parente bettered Vettel's time with 1'25'815.
Costly errors appeared to have become infectious: Xavier Maasen (Prema Power Team) crashed into the barriers opposite the Casino, Pippa Mann (Cram Competition) ran off at Rascasse and Alvaro Parente went off at Swimming Pool! With two minutes to go, Salvador Duran (Interwetten.com) snatched top spot... despite the yellow flags being waved for Parente's crash. Then it was the Mexican's turn to go off at Sainte-Devote. Duran's time was subsequently cancelled, allowing Piccione to qualify on the second row, despite his problems, ahead of Duran, Giedo van der Garde (Victory Engineering) and Mikhail Aleshin.
The best times of several other drivers were cancelled for having cut across the chicane at the tunnel exit: Aleshin, NuÃ±ez, Philippe, Ciompi and Valsecchi. Herck, Mann, Move and Philippe were the four drivers that failed to qualify for the race.