Jarama: Saturday qualiyfing report

Bernoldi scoops double pole Jarama March 27th -- GD Racing's Enrique Bernoldi continued his excellent form in the World Series by Nissan and swept the board to claim both pole positions for the season-opening races at Jarama this weekend. The ...

Bernoldi scoops double pole

Jarama March 27th -- GD Racing's Enrique Bernoldi continued his excellent form in the World Series by Nissan and swept the board to claim both pole positions for the season-opening races at Jarama this weekend. The weather played a large part in both 30-minute sessions, but there was no denying that he thoroughly deserved his results.

Bernoldi is regarded as something of a Jarama specialist and the Brazilian underlined his reputation by making light work of the slippery track conditions to claim the top starting spots in his GD Racing machine.

"It's a good start to the season and I am very happy with my performance," he said. "I knew I had to be out at the end of the first session to make the best of my tyres, but I had traffic on my last lap. Fortunately my previous lap was good enough for pole."

Second on the grid in session one went to series debutant Tiago Monteiro, who delighted his Carlin Motorsport team with his performance. The former Champ Car ace was just 0.016s down on Bernoldi.

Monteiro said: "The team did a great job with the set-up of the car, maybe it's because they are used to the rain coming from England! It was oversteering a lot, but that's the kind of car I like."

Third went to yet another newcomer, RC Motorsport's Olivier Pla. The Frenchman was 1.3s behind Bernoldi, but headed a tightly packed group of nine drivers all covered by less than a second.

"I hadn't driven the car a lot for the beginning of the weekend, so to be third is a great feeling," he said. "The team did an amazing job to make me able to be up there at the end."

Pla's team-mate, Narain Karthikeyan, was a contender for pole, but missed the optimum time on the track after damaging the nose on his car in a collision with Gabord Reyco's Juan Cruz Alvarez. The young Argentinean spun into Pons Racing's Adrian Valles, leaving Karthikeyan with nowhere to go. The Indian thus ended up 10th, Alvarez, who had also held provisional pole, 11th and Valles seventh.

KTR's Didier Andre qualified a career-best fourth in his first race for the team, while Felix Porteiro was an excellent fifth for the Porfesa Competicion outfit. Bruce Jounanny ensured both KTR cars will start in the top six.

The track has dried substantially for the second session, but drizzle began to fall as the cars made their way out onto the circuit. All 19 drivers were anxious to make the best of the conditions, but again it was Bernoldi who set the early pace. This was to prove a massive advantage when Vergani Formula's Rodrigo Sperafico went straight on at the hairpin and beached his car in the gravel. The session was red flagged for a few minutes, but crucially in this time the rain fell harder and the track was never as quick again. As a result this handed Bernoldi another pole on a plate.

Ander Vilarino inherited a front row starting position for Epsilon Euskadi, much to his relief after a tyre pressure issue left him back in eight in the first session.

"I think my bad luck from the first session has turned into good luck here," he said. "I had a electrical problem with the engine yesterday, so I'm not sure if I have the ideal set-up for the dry, so I hope we have a wet race tomorrow."

Ryo Fukuda picked up a surprise third place on the grid for the new Paul Belmondo Racing outfit.

Fukuda said: "For sure my position owes something to good luck, but hopefully I will be able to fight to keep third in the race."

In contrast, Fukuda's team-mate Boris Derichbourg was out of luck and stranded back in 18th as was Gabord Reyco's Ralph Firman who ruined his best lap when he spun and will start from 19th and last. Other drivers to lose out were Andre (17th), Jounanny (15th) and Porteiro (12th).

World Series Lights: Pavlovic on top

Milos Pavlovic was the toast of the World Series Lights paddock after conquering the weather to take two pole positions. Rain replaced the snow for the first qualifying session of the World Series Lights, but conditions were just as difficult for the drivers. The session was littered with yellow flag periods as the drivers took to the gravel traps as they sought the limits of grip.

The driver who mastered the conditions with the greatest aplomb was Yugoslav Milos Pavlovic, who was in a different class to his rivals, taking pole position by over a second. His Vergani Formula team-mate Matteo Pellegrino was next up and the pair enjoyed a huge advantage over the others. RC Motorsport's Juan Antonio del Pino was third, albeit 2.5s down on Pavlovic.

The track was still damp, but dry enough for slick tyres in the second qualifying session, but once more Pavlovic was the man to beat. His advantage in the dry was less emphatic, but he still took pole position by a commanding margin of 0.2s. Second on the grid went to Epsilon Sport's Bastien Briere, who atoned for a terrible first session, which left him back in 10th. Pellegrino had held provisional pole at one stage, but will start the race directly behind team-mate Pavlovic from third on the grid.

Formula Junior: Barba rules the roost

In the Spanish Formula Junior category, where the stars of tomorrow do battle, the clear winner was the Escuela Lois Circuit team. Its drivers Marco Barba and Arturo Llobell dominated the first qualifying session, which was held in difficult, snowy conditions. Barba, the championship favourite was over half a second up on his team-mate. In turn, Llobell had a clear advantage of almost a second over third place man Carlos Alvarez, CLM Motorsport's Carlos Alvarez.

Conditions improved sufficiently for the drivers to take slick tyres for the second qualifying session, but the result was the same nonetheless. Once again Barba had a big gap over the rest, who were headed by Llobell. Third went to Belgian Michael Herck, the Junior Racing Team driver had been fourth quickest in the earlier session.

-rpm-

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About this article
Series Formula V8 3.5
Drivers Enrique Bernoldi , Didier André , Narain Karthikeyan , Ryo Fukuda , Rodrigo Sperafico , Ralph Firman , Bastien Brière , Olivier Pla , Adrian Valles , Felix Porteiro , Juan Cruz Alvarez , Michael Herck , Milos Pavlovic , Juan Antonio del Pino , Arturo Llobell , Marco Barba , Ander Vilarino
Teams Carlin