Bas Leinders & Bruce Jouanny poleman in the Superfund World Series by Nissan
Julien Vidot wins World Series Light's first race
Pole for tomorrow's Superfund World Series by Nissan races at the A1-Ring in Austria was shared by two drivers after today's qualifying sessions. Runaway championship leader Franck Montagny wasn't one of them, which means he still hasn't had a pole since Zolder at the second meeting of the season.
The fact is that Bas Leinders took top spot for the first time this year in the opening session that set the grid for the first race tomorrow. Then Frenchman Bruce Jouanny came along and took the pole in the later qualifying half-hour. Montagny had to be satisfied with second place on the grid in both sessions. That doesn't mean he's going to stop winning though. He's won four of the last six races without starting from pole in any of them.
Carlin driver Narain Karthikeyan came back strongly to take third place for the second race after his morning session was written off by a fuel pump failure that will see him starting the first race tomorrow from the very back of the grid. Another Frenchman, Stephane Sarrazin, will start third in the first encounter.
Heikki Kovalainen, the Finn who is third in the championship, had an ugly first session in which he could only manage eleventh. However, he will start the second race from a much better fourth place. Jouanny has fourth for race one, which should give him the overtaking practice he hopes he won't need in the second race!
There are two newcomers to the series this weekend. Vitantonio Liuzzi is driving for RC Motorsport and will start thirteenth in both races. His second session time did show an improvement, which shows the Italian is slowly coming to grips with a car that is quite different from his previous Formula 3000 machine.
Jose M. Perez Aicart is in at Adrian Campos for Marc Gene, who has thrown in his lot with Williams in some way or another. He'll be starting near the back, but also showed great improvement between sessions.
The second session on another beautiful, warm Styrian afternoon was the quicker of the two. Jouanny's pole time for race two is considerably faster than the 1m22.060 set by Ricardo Sperafico in the F3000 race here earlier in the year. Jouanny had gone even quicker in unofficial practice yesterday!
Tomorrow's races take place at 11h45 and 14h15 CET. Montagny could possibly seal the title tomorrow, but it seems unlikely because it will need major bad luck for a few of his rivals.
Today's action was rounded off by an entertaining race in the World Series Lights. Although Julien Vidot led the full distance from Pablo Donoso, it was anything but easy. At varying times in the race he came under intense pressure and did well not to make a mistake.
Until he made a mistake, that is! Vidot ran wide on the final turn two laps from the end, and only just got away with it. He came back on the clean asphalt with a train of Dallara AER cars behind him. He kept clean until the line, though, holding off Danoso and Mathias Lauda, who received a respectful wave from his father watching on pit wall.
Ananda Mikola (fifth in today's race) has pole for race two, which takes place tomorrow. Vidot and Lauda will start second and third.
Jouanny: "Friday was my first time here, but it's a short track and it's not hard to learn. I wasn't so pleased with my performance this morning, but this afternoon we just about matched the potential we showed yesterday in practice. I'm confident for tomorrow."
Leinders: "I'm very happy to be on pole for race one. We had problems with the driveshafts yesterday but today we solved them for the morning. Then I made wrong changes to the car for the second race and when we fixed those I got held up on my good lap! I could have been third. Tomorrow I need big points. My aim is second in the championship because winning it is impossible.
Montagny: "I am very confident for the races! I want to increase my cushion in the championship. That's the most important thing- I am not thinking about the mathematics.
Karthikeyan: "I like this track. Our testing last week went well, obviously. It's a shame about the fuel pump problems this morning. Starting race one in 19th is not so good. But we're all fighting for second in the championship, as Bas has said!"
Vidot: "It was difficult to keep ahead of Pablo because he had good speed. I lost a bit of time with a driving error but I kept trying to keep some distance in front. Now Epsilon has proved it is not only good in the wet but in the dry as well.
Donaso: "I had a good start and tried all race to catch Vidot. I went off track once as well, maybe because the track was dirty. So after that I tried to keep second place and get some points. Second is good.
Lauda: "I had a very ,very good start and went from fifth to third. The track changed a lot since second qualifying and it was hard to adapt to it. But I am delighted with the podium, my second of the season.
<pre> Superfund World Series by Nissan: Race 1 grid Bas Leinders (Racing Engineering) 1m22.132s Franck Montagny (Gabord Competition) +0.085 Stephane Sarrazin (Racing Engineering) +0.262 Bruce Jouanny (Carlin) +0.369 Ander Vilariño (Epsilon Euskadi) +0.426 Enrique Bernoldi (GD Racing) +0.478 Didier Andre (Saulnier Racing) +0.728 Bruno Besson (Saulnier Racing) +0.733 Jean Cristophe Ravier (Epsilon Euskadi) +0.776 Norbert Siedler (Superfund Zele Racing) +0.818 Heikki Kovalainen (Gabord Competition) +0.964 Felix Porteiro (KTR) +0.984 Vitantonio Liuzzi (RC Motorsport) +1.034 Paul Edwards (KTR) +1.120 Polo Villaamil (RC Motorsport) +1.681 Jose Manuel Perez Aicart (Adrian Campos) +1.899 Angel Burgueño (Repsol RFS Vergani) +1.960 Santiago Porteiro (Adrian Campos) +2.326 Narain Karthikeyan (Carlin) +6.404
Superfund World Series by Nissan: Race 2 grid Bruce Jouanny (Carlin) 1m21.721s Franck Montagny (Gabord Competition) +0.036 Narain Karthikeyan (Carlin) +0.317 Heikki Kovalainen (Gabord Competition) +0.339 Bas Leinders (Racing Engineering) +0.391 Stephane Sarrazin (Racing Engineering) +0.403 Jean Cristophe Ravier (Epsilon Euskadi) +0.560 Ander Vilariño (Epsilon Euskadi) +0.615 Bruno Besson (Saulnier Racing) +0.723 Enrique Bernoldi (GD Racing) +0.879 Paul Edwards (KTR) +0.981 Felix Porteiro (KTR) +1.074 Vitantonio Liuzzi (RC Motorsport) +1.200 Angel Burgueño (Repsol RFS Vergani) +1.339 Norbert Siedler (Superfund Zele Racing) +0.436 Didier Andre (Saulnier Racing) +1.593 Polo Villaamil (RC Motorsport) +1.616 Jose Manuel Perez Aicart (Adrian Campos) +1.838 Santiago Porteiro (Adrian Campos) +1.963
World Series Lights: Race 1 Julien Vidot (Epsilon by Graff) 25m08.400s Pablo Donoso (Vergani Racing) +0.766s Mathias Lauda (Vergani Racing) +2.135s Mateo Pellegrino (RC Motorsport) +3.034s Ananda Mikola (RC Motorsport) +5.635s Juan Cruz Alvarez (Meycom Reyco) +6.195s Celso Miguez (Meycom Reyco) +11.050s Alvaro Barba (Escuela Lois Circuit) +13.760s Milos Pavlovic (Epsilon by Graff) +16.116s Chanoch Nissany (Szasz Motorsport) + 1 lap Milka Duno (Vergani Racing) + 2 laps Bastien Briere (RC Motorsport) + 6 laps (not running) Adrian Valles (Escuela Lois Circuit) +14 laps (not running)
World Series Lights: Grid for Race 2 Ananda Mikola (RC Motorsport) 1m25.982s Julien Vidot (Epsilon by Graff) +0.022s Mathias Lauda (Vergani Racing) +0.231s Mateo Pellegrino (RC Motorsport) +0.418s Pablo Donoso (Vergani Racing) +0.438s Celso Miguez (Meycom Reyco) +0.767s Juan Cruz Alvarez (Meycom Reyco) +0.973s Alvaro Barba (Escuela Lois Circuit) +1.041s Milos Pavlovic (Epsilon by Graff) +1.273s Adrian Valles (Escuela Lois Circuit) +1.377s Bastien Briere (RC Motorsport) +1.598s Milka Duno (Vergani Racing) +2.680s Chanoch Nissany (Szasz Motorsport) +3.881s