Molina and Jousse back on happy hunting ground!
Having both featured prominently in last year's Estoril meeting, Miguel Molina (Prema Powerteam) and Julien Jousse (Tech 1 Racing) are once again shining at the Portuguese circuit. This year, though it is Molina who will start from pole position, his first of the season.
Miguel Molina (Prema Powerteam) and Fabio Carbone (Ultimate Signature) were the first men to get down to business. Bertrand Baguette (International Draco Racing) briefly moved into top spot, but Molina soon hit back with a time of 1'26''109, before returning to the pits like most of his fellow competitors.
The end of the session proved decisive. Robert Wickens (Carlin Motorsport) led the way with successive times of 1'25''960 and 1'25''769. Not to be outdone, Fabio Carbone responded with 1'25''700, a new lap record for the Estoril circuit. The top three in the group - Carbone, Wickens and Baguette - were all within a tenth of a second of each other.
Marco Barba (International Draco Racing) took an early lead in Group A, with Salvador Duran (Interwetten.com Racing) and Charles Pic (Tech 1 Racing) just behind. The standings then changed in mid-session as Charles Pic took control, ahead of Julien Jousse (Tech 1 Racing) and Giedo Van der Garde (P1 Motorsport).
With four minutes remaining, Jousse knocked his teammate off top spot. Marco Barba and Charles Pic responded strongly and both took the lead. With a lap timed at 1'25''831, Pic eventually emerged as the group winner. In the closing moments, Alexandre Marsoin (Epsilon Euskadi) clocked exactly the same time as Marco Barba, 1'26''070, before crashing on the first bend. His efforts, though, were enough to give him third place behind Pic and Barba. Giedo Van der Garde, meanwhile, could only finish seventh, meaning he would be absent from the SuperPole.
Alexandre Marsoin was unable to take part in the SuperPole, his car having sustained too much damage in his crash.
The two Prema Powerteam drivers were in evidence early in the session, both achieving exactly the same time! Miguel Molina kept fighting, though, and grabbed provisional pole position.
Bertrand Baguette replaced Molina at the top of the pile, but only for a few seconds, as Robert Wickens and Charles Pic improved on their times. As the chequered flag approached, however, Miguel Molina regained the lead in 1'25''728. The Spaniard thus pockets his first pole position of the season, with Julien Jousse alongside him on the front row.
Miguel Molina: "I was determined. I really wanted this pole. I like this track and won here last season. We are very competitive and the car is performing well. Victory is within reach."
Julien Jousse: "I'm a bit disappointed not to have got pole position, but I'm satisfied with our performance. I'll have to fight to hold onto second place in the Championship. With that in mind, this place on the front row is important."