Soucek at last!
Having looked impressive from the moment he got behind the wheel of a World Series Formula Renault 3.5, Andy Soucek (Interwetten.com) seemed to be having trouble turning form into real results. But now he has finally come good to take the first pole position here this weekend. This will go a long way to encouraging the Spaniard's hopes of victory, who will start alongside Alx Danielsson (Comtec Racing) this afternoon.
Mikhail Aleshin (Carlin Motorsport) and Jaap Van Lagen (Comtec Racing) were the only drivers to come out on track at the start of the session.
With ten minutes gone, all the drivers were in action except for Eric Salignon and Andy Soucek. The Interwetten.com drivers left it to Borja Garcia (RC Motorsport) to set the time to beat.
Andy Soucek then set the fastest time becoming the first driver to go quicker than 1'40''. Eric Salignon was still back in third with five minutes to go. He was followed by Alvaro Parente (Victory Engineering), Christian Montanari (Prema Powerteam) and Hayanari Shimoda (Victory Engineering).
With only 2'30" of the session left, the yellow flag was shown because a driver had spun. After that, no-one was able to do any better and Soucek held onto his fastest time.
As soon as he took to the track midway through the session, Pastor Maldonado (Draco Multiracing USA) went straight to the top of the timing screens. But Alx Danielsson (Comtec Racing) confirmed the good form he showed yesterday by hitting straight back, without beating Soucek's time however.
With five minutes to go, Pastor Maldonado ran off the track and the yellow flag was brought out. As it was proving too difficult to move his car clear, the session was then halted by a red flag. Qualifying subsequently resumed for 2'20'', but no-one went any quicker.
Behind Danielsson and Maldonado, Ben Hanley (Cram Competition) and Enrico Toccacelo (Eurointernational) were busy making up for their disappointing performances in collective testing.
Andy Soucek: "I'm delighted because I've found those extra few tenths I was looking for yesterday. I really wanted to demonstrate my potential by going quicker than Eric. Starting from the front row will hopefully enable me to confirm my form in a race context."
Borja Garcia: "I lost some time in the first sector when I came up on Bonetti who was in trouble. Otherwise, I could have taken pole. We'll see what happens in the race."
Alx Danielsson: "It's been nothing but progress since the start of the meeting! Since we made a change to our setup, we've made a significant leap forward in terms of performance."
Pastor Maldonado: "I ran off on my fastest lap. Otherwise I reckon that I would have taken pole, judging by my opening splits. But the incident was nothing major. Things should be fine for the race."