Challengers on pole
Tristan Gommendy (KTR) picked up his first pole position of the season in the first qualifying session. In the second session, it was Felix Porteiro (Epsilon Euskadi) who stamped his name in everyone's memories. The Spaniard secured his second pole of the year, repeating his feat from Valencia. Andreas Zuber (Carlin Motorsport) achieved a good result, since he will line up for both races on the front row, ahead of current World Series Formula Renault 3.5 leader, Robert Kubica.
The first half of the group A session went to script, with Robert Kubica (Epsilon Euskadi) taking top spot ahead of fellow usual suspects Tristan Gommendy (KTR) and Will Power (Carlin Motorsport). The action -- and the times -- really heated up in the last two minutes, when Patrick Pilet (GD Racing), Felix Porteiro (Epsilon Euskadi) and Christian Montanari (Draco Multiracing USA) muscled their way into the fight for pole. Gommendy and Kubica took it in turns to take the best time, but ultimately it was the French driver who had the final say just as the chequered flag came out. Porteiro, Fleming and Pilet were the other drivers who completed the top 5. Talent young driver Ben Hanley (Cram CompÃ©tition) could not maintain his recent form, as he could only set the ninth best time.
The second series was interrupted after five minutes to allow the stewards to clear the broken-down car of Milos Pavlovic (GD Racing) from the track. When qualifying resumed, three drivers moved clear of the rest of the field: Andreas Zuber (Carlin Motorsport), Adrian Valles (Pons Racing) and Markus Winkelhock (Draco Multiracing USA). The session was interrupted again, this time as Fabio Carbone (Eurointernational) and Nicolas Prost (Dams) went off the track. Zuber also made a mistake and went off in the closing seconds, but he managed to hold onto to his place on the front row.
It wasn't until the favourites decided to put on new tyres that times in the second session began to fall. Adrian Valles, Markus Winkelhock and Andreas Zuber then took it in turns to head the time sheets. Any chances of a last minute improvement were ruined when Nicolas Prost went off again, resulting in the yellow flag being brought out. Zuber finished top of his group again, ahead of Winkelhock and Valles.
In group B, Will Power dominated proceedings, but was still quite a way off the time set by his teammate Zuber. Then Kubica moved in front with five minutes to go. Felix Porteiro beat Zuber's time in 1'25''558, whereas Tristan Gommendy missed out in his hunt for a second pole position, finishing only with the 3rd best time. As in group A, the end of the session was spoiled when Ben Hanley went off, having clearly lost the impressive form he showed during free practice.
Up against various technical problems since free practice, Tomas Kostka (Victory Engineering) was not able to take part in qualifying. The Czech driver will also not feature in the weekend's races.
Tristan Gommendy: "The first qualifying session was very good fun, it was a close contest with Robert. In the second session, I only managed one clear lap. I think that I can win the first race and winning is more important than my position in the championship."
Felix Porteiro: "I'm pleased to get back among the leaders. I am not doing particularly well in the driver championship, but I hope I can pick up points that will help us improve in the team standings. I hope to win tomorrow afternoon."