It's all RC on the front row Having been as unlucky as he has been quick so far this season, Clivio Piccione has had a change of fortunes at last, picking up his first pole position in World Series Formula Renault 3.5. With Marco...
It's all RC on the front row
Having been as unlucky as he has been quick so far this season, Clivio Piccione has had a change of fortunes at last, picking up his first pole position in World Series Formula Renault 3.5. With Marco Bonanomi clocking the best time in the other group, there will be an all-RC Motorsport front row this afternoon.
The sun was rising steadily in the sky at Magny-Cours when qualifying got under way this morning. The men to watch in the first group were Alvaro Parente and Julien Jousse (Tech 1 Racing), Alvaro Barba (Draco Racing), Filipe Albuquerque and Davide Valsecchi (Epsilon Euskadi), Marco Bonanomi (RC Motorsport) and Giedo van der Garde (Victory Engineering).
Five minutes in, Jousse set the standard with a time of 1'28''056. Just a few seconds later, Albuquerque took the lead in 1'27''. At this stage, no-one had approached the best time from collective testing, Mikhail Aleshin's 1'26''563.
Bonanomi broke the 1'27'' barrier in the ninth minute of the session. With a lap time of 1'26''679, the Italian got the better of Jousse and Parente on his first set of tyres. The drivers then stopped by the pits for their second set.
With just five minutes to go, Michael Ammermuller (Carlin Motorsport) caused a sensation by clocking the fastest time. But he was outdone by Giedo van der Garde, who in turn was overtaken by Filipe Albuquerque, before Alvaro Parente went quicker than them all. The Portuguese driver seemed to have put himself out of the reach of his rivals -- particularly when he improved his time to 1'25''969 on his next lap.
But just before the chequered flag brought the session to a close, Bonanomi clinched the lead with a time of 1'25''856! Valsecchi took the third-fastest time behind Parente, while Van der Garde and Albuquerque were fourth and fifth. Despite qualifying for a second-row spot on the grid, Parente will actually start five places further back, having been handed a penalty after race 2 at Donington.
Unsurprisingly, Mikhail Aleshin (Carlin Motorsport) quickly took the lead in group B. The Russian driver was much quicker to get into his stride than Clivio Piccione (RC Motorsport), Guillaume Moreau and Bertrand Baguette (KTR).
It was Piccione, however, who was the first to dip under the 1'27'' mark. Aleshin made an early pit stop to change his tyres. Meanwhile, Miguel Molina (Pons Racing) carried on where he left off in collective testing, taking the lead with a time of 1'26''469.
Esteban Guerrieri (Fortec Motorsport), who had looked in impressive form all session, ran off into the gravel, but was able to continue.
With five minutes to go, Aleshin briefly reclaimed top spot before Molina hit back immediately with a time of 1'26''238. Ben Hanley (Prema Powerteam), then finally made an impact on the session with a lap timed at 1'26''235.
Two minutes from the end, the action really heated up. With a lap timed at 1'25''831, Clivio Piccione beat the best time from group A. Fairuz Fauzy (Cram Competition) momentarily climbed to second place, but Hanley ousted him again on the final lap. Fauzy thus finished third, with Aleshin and Molina completing the top 5. Like Parente, Aleshin will drop back five places on the starting grid as a result of the penalty handed to him at Donington.