WSR

Zolder: Qualifying one report

Montagny takes last-gasp pole from Gene. Franck Montagny stole pole position for the first Superfund World Series by Nissan race at Zolder with a stunning last minute effort. The championship leader timed his late run to perfection to benefit...

Montagny takes last-gasp pole from Gene.

Franck Montagny stole pole position for the first Superfund World Series by Nissan race at Zolder with a stunning last minute effort. The championship leader timed his late run to perfection to benefit from the best of the wet but drying conditions, to claim the top spot by 0.8s.

Qualifying was red flagged with just over two minutes remaining after Paul Edwards parked his KTR machine in the gravel at the first turn, setting up a thrilling finale to the session. Williams Formula 1 test driver Marc Gene initially profited from the slightly drier line to snatch pole, but with only seconds of the session left, Montagny crossed the line to start the lap of 1m38.227s, which would hand him pole.

Montagny said: "I didn't start the session on a full wet set-up so it was very hard to keep the car on the track at first. But as it got drier the car was better and I did a very good lap at the end."

Gene felt that second was the position he deserved, but was disappointed to be so far behind the Gabord Competicion driver.

He said: "We have improved the car a lot since the last race at Jarama, but I have to say I'm surprised at the pace of Montagny. Hopefully tomorrow's race will be dry so we can see exactly where we are compared to him and how much more development we need to do."

Racing Engineering's Stephane Sarrazin held pole early in the session and was in second place until Gene's late improvement. Nevertheless, the Frenchman was pleased with third on the grid. Team-mate, and local favourite, Bas Leinders was held up on his final flying lap and will line up fifth, behind the Carlin Motorsport car of Narain Karthikeyan.

The session began in very wet conditions and rain. The shower stopped early on, but a number of drivers were caught out by the slippery surface. The biggest accident was suffered by Epsilon Euskadi's Ander Vilarino, who spun exiting the final corner and slammed into the pitwall. Fortunately the driver was able to walk away from the smash unhurt, but he will start back in 13th.

-rpm-

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