ENGEL CONTINUES PACE TO SECURE POLE POSITION Maro Engel ( ...
ENGEL CONTINUES PACE TO SECURE POLE POSITION
Maro Engel (#23 Carlin Motorsport) continued from the good start to the weekend in this morning's Free Practice session to secure his second Pole Position of the season. The German finished the 30-miniute qualifying period 0.052 seconds ahead of Stephen Jelley (#1 Raikkonen Robertson Racing) and a further 0.072 seconds ahead Atte Mustonen (#26 Raikkonen Robertson Racing).
The National Class pole was secured by Sergio Perez (#31 T Sport). 0.251 seconds ahead of his championship rival 'Frankie' Cheng (#39 Performance Racing), with Hamad Al Fardan (#38 Performance Racing) in third.
The early pace was set by Sam Bird (#3 Carlin Motorsport) who was the first driver of the weekend to post a sub 1minute 47 second lap with a 1m46.546 on lap 4 and then went even faster a lap later, posting a 1m46.392. After 10 minutes Bird was in provisional pole position from Engel and Mustonen.
After seven laps Bird returned to the pits, thinking he'd done enough but a lap later Jelley put in a 1m46.293 lap, 0.099 seconds faster than the Carlin driver. Atte Mustonen then followed his Double R teammate and demoted Bird to 3rd with a 46.365. However at the same time Maro Engel had set the fastest time of the session for sector 2 and as he exited the Parabolica he was right behind the Hitech Dallara of Walter Grubmuller. The German used the Austrian's tow and crossed the line in 1m46.241, which wasn't beaten for the rest of the session.
Championship leader Marko Asmer (#7 Hitech Racing) improved his best time towards the end of the session and will start Round 9 in 5th place, just ahead of Sebastian Hohenthal (#5 Fortec Motorsport). Greg Mansell will head the 4th row, just ahead of Jonathan Kennard. Carlin teammates Niall Breen and Alberto Valerio rounded out the top 10.
Francesco Castellaci (#8 ADR) suffered his second engine failure of the weekend on his first lap of the qualifying session and failed to set a time. The ADR mechanics are now working hard to get the car ready for the second qualifying session at 17:30 (local time)
The top 18 set times inside the British F3 lap record set by 2005 Champion Alvaro Parente (1m48.149) but this record will stand until some beats it in one of the two races tomorrow.
Maro Engel (Pole Position): "That was awesome, it's been a while since the first one (Pole Position) so it's good to get this one here (at Monza). I think the GT cars have laid down a lot rubber and the track really gripped up, which has allowed us to go faster than this morning and the speed just came."
Stephen Jelley (2nd on grid): "It's good. I didn't have any form of tow, I was on my own, and it means we're in the race. It's looking good for tomorrow, it's easy to overtake here so it's going to be a mega race."
Sergio Perez (National Class Pole Position): "We've had a good start to the weekend and we are on pole and we must start thinking about second qualifying to get pole there as well. We have good pace, we are 12th overall, so we must keep pushing to get the second pole. Monza is a really great circuit, I've played it already on the Playstation and it's just amazing and Monza is now one of my favourite circuits."