Danielsson continues to shine
After having taken his first win of the season here yesterday, Alx Danielsson (Comtec Racing) earned his first World Series Formula Renault 3.5 pole position this morning. The Swedish driver will start race two with Pastor Maldonado (Draco Multiracing USA) alongside him.
The session got underway half an hour later than scheduled, due to the persistent, thick mist hanging over Donington Park. Some damp areas on the track made initial going tricky for the fifteen drivers in group B.
Midway through the session, Eric Salignon (Interwetten.com) had the fastest time with a lap in 1'20''703. Pastor Maldonado (Draco Multiracing USA) and Adrian Zaugg (Carlin Motorsport) were both within only a tenth of a second of Maldonado.
Alvaro Parente (Victory Engineering) was the first driver to go faster than 1'20''. With five minutes to go, Pastor Maldonado got to within 88/1000ths of the time set by the Portuguese driver.
There was a clear improvement in track conditions towards the end of the session. Ben Hanley (Cram Competition), Davide Valsecchi (Epsilon Euskadi) and Sean McIntosh (KTR) took it in turns to set the fastest time. In the final minute, the Canadian became the first driver to dip under the 1'19'' mark. But Pastor Maldonado snatched the fastest time away from him right at the chequered flag with a lap in 1'18''838. Milos Pavlovic (Draco) took third place from Adrian Zaugg, and Ben Hanley completed the top five.
After eight minutes, Alx Danielsson (Comtec Racing) was the first driver of the group to go under 1'20''. Patrick Pilet (Tech 1 Racing) quickly followed suit. Marcos Martinez (Eurointernational) made a mistake which could have proved costly, but he was able to rejoin proceedings unscathed.
Midway through the session, Andy Soucek (Interwetten.com) took Pilet's place at the top of the timing screens. Then, it was Borja Garcia's (RC Motorsport) turn to come to the fore!
Alx Danielsson was the first driver to beat Maldonado's time of 1'18''764 when there was still seven more minutes of this final qualifying session to go. Then Mikhail Aleshin (Carlin Motorsport) crashed out in pretty serious style. But with his car not left obstructing the track, Danielsson was able to continue to show off his talent unhindered to take his first World Series Formula Renault 3.5 pole position with a lap in 1'18''069!
Behind Garcia, Ryo Fukuda (Tech 1 Racing) took a fine third place ahead of Andy Soucek, Christian Montanari (Prema Power Team) and the young Miguel Molina (GD Racing).
Alx Danielsson: "The track conditions have changed enormously since yesterday. I had to build my confidence right throughout the session before I could let myself go. I really made full use of the car in the closing laps. This weekend is going superbly well for me."
Pastor Maldonado: "We have worked well with the team engineers. The track was very slippy and we knew that our group would be slower than the second group."