DAMS drivers love the tight street course
The DAMS drivers demonstrated their mastery of the streets of Monaco during Formula Renault 3.5 Series qualifying. In dominating their group session, Norman Nato and Carlos Sainz locked up the front row, but the Spaniard was penalized two positions for blocking another driver. Jazeman Jaafar (ISR) and Marco Sørensen (Tech 1 Racing) will start between the two men.
After a busy day of work for the teams, the Formula Renault 3.5 field enjoyed ideal weather conditions during qualifying. The drivers were split into two groups and all had 25 minutes to battle for the pole position.
First on the circuit, Sergey Sirotkin (Fortec Motorsports) set the opening time in Group A. The Russian driver swapped best time with Carlos Sainz and Marco Sørensen. At the mid-way point, the Spaniard led the way before the last minute sprint on fresh tyres. First to improve the reference time, the Red Bull Junior Team driver was unbeatable in lowering his best time on several occasions to end up quickest in the group ahead of Marco Sørensen, Sergey Sirotkin, Pierre Gasly (Arden Motorsport) and Roberto Merhi (Zeta Corse).
In the second group, Oliver Rowland (Fortec Motorsports) led early on before Jazeman Jaafar and Norman Nato moved ahead. Shod with new tyres, Oliver Rowland moved back to the top of the order, before Norman Nato regained the top spot. Jazeman Jaafar improved, becoming the first to go quicker than the best time of the first group. However, in his final lap, Norman Nato won the pole with a best time of 1:23.209. Oliver Rowland was third quickest ahead of Zoël Amberg (AVF) and Will Stevens (Strakka Racing).
At the end of qualifying, Carlos Sainz was penalized two spots on the starting grid for having blocked Pierre Gasly. Norman Nato will share row one with Jazeman Jaafar. Marco Sørensen and Carlos Sainz will start from row two, followed by the highest place first-timer Oliver Rowland. Sergey Sirotkin, Zoël Amberg, Pierre Gasly, Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi complete the first five rows.
Said Nato: ”At Monaco, speed is necessary, but there is a bit of luck involved. This pole position is a sigh of relief and I am thrilled. I made it difficult for myself in tapping the Armco barrier on my first run. The team did an excellent job after that. 50% of the work is done, but the race will be quite complicated!”