EU: Series Spa qualifying report

Tyre gamble in qualifying: Wittmann and Geronimi on pole. Spa (BE), 6th September 2008. Qualifying for Formula BMW Europe in Spa, Belgium saw German driver Marco Wittmann (Josef Kaufmann Racing) take the top slot. In the 13th round of the...

Tyre gamble in qualifying: Wittmann and Geronimi on pole.

Spa (BE), 6th September 2008. Qualifying for Formula BMW Europe in Spa, Belgium saw German driver Marco Wittmann (Josef Kaufmann Racing) take the top slot. In the 13th round of the season, the 18-year-old will be starting from pole for the first time this year. Grid positions for round 14 on Sunday are determined by the second-fastest lap in qualifying. That puts Tiago Geronimi (BR/Eifelland Racing) on his first pole position following on from his debut win in Valencia. The Formula BMW Europe races will take place in Spa on Saturday from 17.30 to 18 hrs and on Sunday from 9.15 to 9.45 hrs.

The team managers were gazing apprehensively at the sky until shortly before the start of the qualifying session, as dark rain clouds gathered above the track. The teams of Josef Kaufmann Racing, DAMS and Holzer decided to start qualifying with wet tyres, while all the other teams opted for slicks. At the end of the third lap, Kaufmann drivers Wittmann, Esteban Gutierrez (MX) and Kazeem Manzur (GB) came into the pits and took on slicks. It proved a good decision for Wittmann, who made an optimal switchover, upped his pace lap for lap and managed to clinch pole in the final seconds. Gutierrez, who leads the overall rankings with seven wins, struggled with the conditions out on the track and will be starting rounds 13 and 14 from 18th and 20th positions respectively.

The mixed grid line-up is a reflection of just how close the competition is in Formula BMW Europe: round 14 will see nine different teams occupying the top ten places on the grid.

Marco Wittmann (DE/Josef Kaufmann Racing).

Round 13: pole position, round 14: 2nd on the grid. "I'm really delighted with my first pole position this year. Spa is my all-time favourite track and it's nice that I managed to clock such a fast time here of all places. I was also best in free practice. Everything has just fallen into place with our set-up, and I'm looking forward to the races."

Doru Sechelariu (RO/Fortec Motorsport).

Round 13: 2nd on the grid, round 14: 8th on the grid. "I've worked particularly hard with fitness training to prepare myself for this circuit. Being able to start the race from the front row of the grid is really tremendous. In qualifying, I was intermittently in third place, and that gave me a real incentive. I realised things were happening, and I absolutely pushed myself. This is a fantastic circuit and I find every corner appealing."

Tiago Geronimi (BR/Eifelland Racing).

Round 13: 3rd on the grid, round 14: pole position. "Naturally my win in Valencia has boosted my confidence, and that has had an impact on qualifying too. First and third places are super, although the track threw up some really tricky conditions. I found Eau Rouge quite dangerous at the start, but I knew I quickly had to get into the groove. Because the circuit is so long, you can only squeeze nine or ten laps into qualifying. You really have to have your wits about you."

-credit: fbw eu

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About this article
Series Formula BMW
Drivers Esteban Gutierrez , Doru Sechelariu , Marco Wittmann , Tiago Geronimi , Kazeem Manzur
Teams DAMS