The Czech team endured a tricky Qualifying session, with traffic playing a major role in slowing down Christopher Zanella and Sergey Sirotkin efforts.
Difficult Saturday for I.S.R. in Monte Carlo, where the F.Renault 3.5 championship is holding the 3rd round of the season. On the streets of the most glamorous town in the world, the Czech team endured a tricky Qualifying session, with traffic playing a major role in slowing down Christopher Zanella's efforts.
As a tradition for F.Renault 3.5, Qualifying in Monaco sees a different system in place compared to the rest of the season: in order to limit traffic issues as much as possible (on such a tight track it happens anyway), the 26 drivers are split into two groups: the fastest time overall earns pole position, with the rest of drivers from the pole-sitter's group lining up directly behind him on the starting grid.
The drivers from the other group, meanwhile, start the race on the other side of the grid.
Zanella was part of Group A, the first pack to go on track at 9.00 AM. His pace with the first set of tyres was good, and brought him as high as P3 in the early part of the session. With just 5 minutes to go Chris was doing an amazing job with his second set of rubber too, as his laptime at Sector 2 was 0.5 quicker than his previous best: unluckily, he found a slower car on his line in the Swimming Pool complex and had to back off, finishing ninth in his group and losing his chances for a good starting position.
Sirotkin, on the team's other car, took the track in Group B and, exactly as Zanella, climbed to 3rd place with his first set of Michelins. Then, after fitting the second set, he didn't manage to find the pace again due to a lack of rear grip and ended up in P10 in his group.
Christopher Zanella: P9 in Group A - P18 Overall "I'm disappointed because our pace was very good, so good that we could have finished in the very first rows as proved by our performance with the first set of tyres.
Unluckily I managed to post just a lap on the second set because of traffic, a slower driver spoiled my best effort, and after that I never had a clear track again.
I tried to slow down twice to create a gap, but it was useless because I kept finding slow cars around. It won't be easy tomorrow, but I'll do my best".
Sergey Sirotkin: P10 Group B - P19 Overall"I'm disappointed about today's result, but confident about our potential. I was very quick with my first set of new rubber, but then something went wrong with the second one. Maybe we weren't quick in enough in reacting to higher track temperatures, but the rear grip was just gone, and there was nothing I could do to drive quicker.
Anyway I'm very confident for the race because our pace in normal conditions is very quick. Furthermore, I really love the track. The first laps on Thursday were a bit scary because barriers are so close, but now I got into the flow of the circuit and it's really amazing".