Maldonado keeps burning! Pastor Maldonado continued the good form he so far shown this weekend, improving on the time he set in yesterday's free practice to take pole position for race one. He will be joined on the front row by Ben Hanley (Cram...
Maldonado keeps burning!
Pastor Maldonado continued the good form he so far shown this weekend, improving on the time he set in yesterday's free practice to take pole position for race one. He will be joined on the front row by Ben Hanley (Cram Competition), who set the best time in the other group. Of the other leading drivers in the championship, Soucek, Parente and Garcia were there or thereabouts, unlike the out-of-form Eric Salignon. But watch out for Vettel, McIntosh and Aleshin!
The drivers took their time to get into the swing of things. With ten minutes gone, Sean McIntosh (KTR) and James Rossiter (Pons Racing) were the only drivers to have lapped under the 1'20'' mark. Borja Garcia (RC Motorsport) and Christian Montanari (Prema Power Team) then took it in turns to take provisional pole.
Sean McIntosh responded, but he was still quite a long way off the best time from free practice, set by Maldonado (1'18''661). The Canadian continued to lap quickly and was thus the first to go quicker than 1'19''. Ben Hanley (Cram Competition) continued in the same rich vein of form that he has shown since the start of the meeting, moving ahead of Garcia and Montanari.
With five minutes to go, Sebastien Vettel (Carlin Motorsport) went right to the top of the timing screens, snatching the best time from McIntosh by a mere 17/1000ths! Behind Hanley and Garcia, Montanari moved past Rossiter into fifth. Eric Salignon was below par again and will have to start race one from row 11!
With only ten seconds left of the session, Ben Hanley grabbed the best time from under Vettel's nose, with a 1'18''792 lap.
Mikhail Aleshin (Carlin Motorsport) and Patrick Pilet (GD Racing) were the first out on the track. But on his very first flying lap, Pastor Maldonado (Draco Multiracing USA) took group B's top spot with a time of 1'18''827. The Venezuelan looked a good bet to beat Hanley's time!
With thirteen minutes gone, Davide Valsecchi (Epsilon Euskadi) took third spot, nestled in between Alvaro Parente (Victory Engineering) and Andy Soucek (Interwetten.com).
Maldonado then bettered his earlier time to take provisional pole with a time of 1'18''517, with six minutes left on the session clock. Soucek took second spot ahead of Parente, Aleshin and Valsecchi.
There were no further changes before the session was brought to a close. Seventh, just behind Alx Danielsson (Comtec Racing), Ryo Fukuda (Tech 1 Racing) achieved his best qualifying result since the start of the season.
Pastor Maldonado: "This is my second consecutive pole position, after the one in Istanbul. That goes to show that we have an excellent car and I think that it will be the same for the rest of the season. We have been performing at a high level since the start of the weekend, even with worn tyres. That augurs well for this afternoon!"