Bianchi joins the French party! Bastille Day continued to inspire the Gallic contingent here in Budapest, as another French driver produced a superb qualifying performance! After Guillaume Moreau in World Series Formula Renault 3.5 and Michael...
Bianchi joins the French party!
Bastille Day continued to inspire the Gallic contingent here in Budapest, as another French driver produced a superb qualifying performance! After Guillaume Moreau in World Series Formula Renault 3.5 and Michael Rossi in Eurocup Megane Trophy, Jules Bianchi took pole position in the first Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 race. The French championship leader will be joined on the front row this afternoon by Brendon Hartley (Red Bull Epsilon). Stefano Coletti (Red Bull Epsilon) and Nelson Panciatici (SG Formula) will start from row one tomorrow.
Only those drivers short on track time decided to head out onto the track as soon as the 40-minute session got underway. Tiago Petiz (Omicron Racing), Bianca Steiner (Steiner Motorsport), Marc Auby and Joe Ghanem (Carlin Motorsport) helpfully warmed up the track for the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 favourites--
It wasn't until midway through the session that the full line-up was finally in action. On his first set of fresh tyres, Charles Pic (SG Formula) proved to be the quickest, with a lap of 1'44''162. Eric Bernard's protege then struggled however to get a second clear lap in the traffic.
In second for a good period, Stefano Coletti (Red Bull Epsilon) was then overtaken by his team-mate Brendon Hartley. Having demonstrated he was back to form in yesterday's collective testing, Nelson Panciatici (SG Formula) also appeared to be in contention for pole position.
With 22 minutes gone, Jules Bianchi (SG Formula) stepped into the fray, beating Pic's time by a mere 22/1000ths. The drivers then headed into the pits in quick succession to put on their second set of fresh tyres.
Back on track, Markus Niemela (BVM Minardi Team) surprised everyone when he then set the second fastest time. But two minutes from the end, the action really heated up. Jules Bianchi and Alexandre Marsoin moved back into the top two positions.
After the session, incredibly, 26 of the 37 drivers collected penalties for not staying within the bounds of the track! Bianchi therefore lost pole position in the second race to Coletti. Third in the first series, the Monaco driver will only start from 13th position on the grid, after being handed a penalty at the Nurburgring. Marsoin was another to lose out big style, dropping down to 8th and 7th places.
Polesitter for race 1 and fourth for race 2, Bianchi is preparing himself for a tough weekend. Having overtaken several cars while the safety car was out at the Nurburgring, he will have to come in to the pits for a drive through penalty in each race.
The return to form of Nelson Panciatici (SG Formula), 4th and 2nd, and Markus Niemela, in the end 6th and 3rd, must however be applauded. Jon Lancaster (SG Formula, 7th/5th) can also be pleased with his morning's work, having produced his best qualifying performance so far this season.
Of the leading championship drivers, Frank Kechele (Motopark Academy, 11th/10th), Henki Waldschmidt (Prema Power Team, 13th/15th), Oliver Turvey (Jenzer Motorsport, 14th/13th) and Charles Pic (SG Formula, 18th/36th) will have to pull out all the stops if they are to prevent Hartley from moving clear at the top of the overall standings--