Bernoldi and Kovalainen start from pole in Superfund World Series by Nissan finale
The Superfund World Series by Nissan is set for a thrilling climax at Jarama after qualifying set up a great showdown for second position in the championship.
Former Arrows Formula 1 driver Enrique Bernoldi repeated his achievement from the first race of the season by taking pole position for race one to give himself a fighting chance of ending the year behind only Franck Montagny in the championship.
The GD Racing driver, who will start from second on the grid in race two, said: "We could tell from last week's test that we have a good set-up, but I still had to push very hard. We have a good car and I believe we can have a good race."
Pole for race two went to Gabord Competicion's Heikki Kovalainen, who was one of the few drivers to up his pace for the second session. With fourth position for race one, the Finn has a good chance of claiming the runner-up spot behind his team-mate Montagny, but he says taking his second win of the year is more important to him.
"Being second or third is not that important to be," he said. "I have to go out there for the win. I wasn't attacking that much on the lap, so maybe it's better to be relaxed around here."
Despite missing Friday's practice session, Montagny will start on the front row for the opening race. However, a small change to the car set-up for the second session proved to be a mistake and he will start in an unfamiliar ninth place.
"I want to end the season with the sensation of a win, but I'm not so confident as usual," he said. "I hope it rains tomorrow."
Felix Porteiro continued KTR's strong practice form by taking third on the grid for both races. His team-mate Paul Edwards was unable to repeat his best time from practice and will start seventh and 11th.
The other drivers fighting for second overall had a mixed day. Racing Engineering's Stephane Sarrazin starts eighth and sixth, Jean Christophe Ravier lines up ninth and fourth for Epsilon Euskadi, Narain Karthikeyan is still recovering from his recent tropical illness and had to settle for 10th and 17th in his Tata Team Carlin machine, while Bas Leinders has his work cut out from 13th and eighth. Bruno Besson entered the last round with a slim chance of ending the season second in the standings, but after qualifying 16th and 15th, he needs a massive change of fortune on Sunday.
World Series Lights
The stars of the future in the World Series Lights were closely matched over the two qualifying sessions, but it was Frenchman Julien Vidot who emerged on top, taking pole position for both races. The Epsilon by Graff driver is fighting for second place in the championship and was delighted to boost his chances with the perfect qualifying result.
He said: "We had a great strategy with the sessions and I was able to do my runs without any problems with traffic. Our car is very consistent so I think we are in good shape for the race."
Vidot's team-mate Milos Pavlovic is also his rival for the runner-up position and he set up a great fight by recording the second best time in qualifying one. The Yugoslav will line up third for race two, so Vidot will have to push all the way to clinch the championship position behind the new title holder Juan Cruz Alvarez.
The champion-elect was just fractions slower than Pavlovic in the first session, but got the better of the former British F3 racer to take a front row place for race two. The title may have already been decided, but the Argentinean is hungry for more success.
"Julien is doing a really good job at the moment and he will be hard to beat," said Alvarez, "but it would be really good to end the season with a win."
Spanish Formula Junior
The Spanish Formula Junior championship always provides plenty of action, but it excelled itself at Jarama. Both qualifying sessions were amazingly close for the season finale. Fittingly, the new champion Juan Antonio del Pino took pole for the first race, but less than one second separated the G- TEC driver from HST Racing's Marcos Martinez in 15th!
Borja Garcia Mancera will start second in race one for ECA Racing, ahead of Marco Barba's Escuela Lois Circuit machine and the Porfesa Competicion entry of Roldan Rodriguez. Rodriquez, who will race in the World Series next year, set the pace in the second qualifying session to snatch pole for race two. He was just 0.03s quicker than ECA Racing's Marcos de Diego, who was only 0.085 up on del Pino in third.
The last but one race of the season boiled down to a straight fight between del Pino and Rodriquez. The gap between the lead pair was never more than a second, but despite Rodriquez's best efforts he could not deny the champion another win. Marco Barba held third for much of the race, but dropped out on the final lap handing a podium finish to Marcos de Diego.