Maldonado scores pole hat-trick Pastor Maldonado (Draco Multiracing USA) secured his third pole position of the season at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit. The Venezuelan will lead off this afternoon with Milos Pavlovic (Eurointernational)...
Maldonado scores pole hat-trick
Pastor Maldonado (Draco Multiracing USA) secured his third pole position of the season at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit. The Venezuelan will lead off this afternoon with Milos Pavlovic (Eurointernational) alongside him on row one.
The first fifteen cars all went out onto the track right at the start of the session. As they only had fifteen minutes and a lap takes a little over two minutes, the drivers could not afford to waste any time if they were to complete as many laps as possible!
On his first flying lap, Borja Garcia (RC Motorsport) set the time to beat, a sub-2'06'' lap. The Spaniard then went quicker still on his next lap. But it was Sebastian Vettel (Carlin Motorsport), after keeping a low profile during yesterday's free practice, who was the first to go quicker than 2'05'', halfway through the session (2'04''205).
Mikhail Aleshin (Carlin Motorsport), Marco Bonanomi (Tech 1 Racing) and Milos Pavlovic (Eurointernational) then took it in turns to take the second best time.
The session came under full yellow five minutes from the end, meaning that qualifying was effectively suspended, after Bonanomi crashed off. The green flag came out after 1'20'' and the drivers put everything into one final attempt.
Predictably enough, the closing minutes of the session were incident-packed. Just as the chequered flag brought the session to a close, Milos Pavlovic stole the best time from Vettel with a 2'04''069 lap! Quick to react, Alx Danielsson (Comtec Racing) took the third best time.
With Soucek, Maldonado and Parente in the second group, the fight for supremacy looked set to be every bit as exciting as the first group! Andy Soucek took his rivals slightly by surprise, however, by not going out onto the track until the five-minute mark. After injuring his wrist yesterday afternoon in a crash, the Spaniard had been given the go-ahead by the doctors to race, but he was keen to pace himself.
Midway through the session, Alvaro Parente (Victory Engineering) was getting close to Pavlovic's time with a 2'04''137 lap. The Portuguese driver was at that stage 62/1000ths ahead of Maldonado. But the Venezuelan grabbed the lead on the next lap with a time of 2'04''058, dumping Pavlovic into second place!
The red flag was brought out five minutes from the end after Alessandro Bonetti (Jenzer Motorsport) crashed off. At the restart, Maldonado and Parente were unable to improve their times. As the chequered flag brought the session to a close, Andy Soucek snatched the third best time from under the nose of Sean McIntosh (KTR). Davide Valsecchi (Epsilon Euskadi) also managed to push Jaap Van Lagen (Comtec Racing) back into sixth place.
Pastor Maldonado: "I think I could have gone even quicker in the first sector, but the red flag stopped me in my tracks. It's important to start on pole position for the sprint race."
Milos Pavlovic: "I wanted to repay Eurointernational for the faith they have shown in me despite my limited budget. We made a few minor modifications to the car and made good progress as a result. I hope I can turn my qualifying form into a podium finish."
Andy Soucek: "I can't use my right hand fully. I didn't push too hard at the start to try and get used to that. I think that pole position was within my reach because I made two small errors on my quickest lap."