First pickings for Valles and Salignon
Despite the very tricky conditions, Adrian Valles (Pons Racing) and Eric Salignon (Cram Competition) were fastest in qualifying. They are both well placed to take their first victory of the season! But not if the KTR double-act of Tristan Gommendy and Jaap Van Lagen has anything to do with it!
After the free practice sessions in the dry, qualifying got underway on a wet Donington track. Ryan Sharp (Jenzer Motorsport) moved to the top of the timing screens with a lap in 1'46''340 five minutes from the close. Then Christian Montanari improved on that twice in succession taking the best time in 1'42''836. It was at this point that Celso Miguez span off into the gravel. The session also turned out to be a bit of a disaster for Tristan Gommendy (KTR) who had to settle for the 8th best time after making two mistakes. His bad luck continued when he had his best time disqualified for overtaking when the yellow flag was out. At the chequered flag, it was Adrian Valles (Pons Racing) who grabbed the best time in 1'41''026. Maldonado, Pavlovic (GD Racing) and Porteiro completed the top 5.
In group B, Jaap Van Lagen (KTR) was still dominating proceedings five minutes from the end. But, with a time of 1'42''191, the Dutchman was still more than a second behind Valles. He threw away any chances of improving on this time by running off into the gravel twice in succession. Fernando Rees (Interwetten.com), Matteo Pellegrino (RC Motorsport), Markus Winkelhock (Draco Multiracing USA) and Damien Pasini (Cram Competition) also made mistakes in the unrelenting rain. And no-one else was able to improve any further. Except for Robert Kubica (Epsilon Euskadi) who stole a spot on the second row away from Eric Salignon (Cram Competition) right at the chequered flag!
The track was a little less wet when the group B drivers went out for the second session. Eric Salignon took the best time five minutes from the close. The session then had to be brought to a halt as the red flag was shown when Giovanni Tedeschi (RC Motorsport) ran off the track. When the session resumed, Will Power (Carlin Motorsport) and Damien Pasini (Cram Competition) themselves made mistakes on a track which was still as tricky as ever. Salignon was out of harm's way, ahead of Van Lagen, despite an improvement by the Dutchman on his final attempt. Fernando Rees (Interwetten.com) put in a very impressive performance to take the 3rd best time. The Brazilian finished ahead of both Winkelhock and Kubica!
After a spectacular spin from Andreas Zuber (Carlin Motorsport), there were plenty more incidents to come in the second session. Alx Danielsson and Adrian Valles got in each other's way and ended up coming into contact. Six minutes from the close, Tristan Gommendy unseated Milos Pavlovic from the top spot. The Frenchman was then passed by Maldonado and Dirani! After that, the session was interrupted for a few minutes to allow an object to be cleared from the track. When qualifying resumed, Gommendy came out on top while Pavlovic and Maldonado both made errors. The session was then brought to an early close by yet another red flag.J Adrian Valles: "It's fantastic to get my first pole, but I hope it's not my last! In the second session, my suspension was damaged in my collision with Danielsson. It's a shame because I felt I was capable of getting another good result."
Eric Salignon: "It was difficult to attack this morning as I was unfamiliar with this track in the wet. But I felt I had the potential to do well. Then I just needed that little bit of success to help me take the pole.'