Monaco FR3.5: Jaafar beats Rowland to pole

Malaysia’s Jazeman Jaafar beat his Formula Renault 3.5 Championship-leading Fortec teammate Oliver Rowland to pole position on the streets of Monaco.

The sessions were split into two, and Group A was red flagged after a huge crash at the Swimming Pool, where Philo Paz Armand clipped the wall at the first apex and was sent crashing side-on into the barrier at the second apex.

Fortunately for him, some expertly-placed TECPRO barrier meant he walked away unharmed, although the right side of his car was destroyed.

After the restart, Rowland had set the early pace on 1m25.358s, which he lowered to 1m24.432s, eight tenths up on Tio Ellinas, and then reduced it again to 1m24.370s.

It meant Rowland topped that session from Ellinas by 0.897s, ahead of Pietro Fantin, who was over a second off the Rowland’s scorching pace, Nyck De Vries and Gustav Malja.

In Group B, Jaafar set the pace with 1m24.752s, then lowered his pace to 1m24.668s with four minutes remaining.

Rowland could only watch anxiously as his teammate closed in on his pole time, and his 1m23.531s meant he snatched it away with 2m30s on the clock, and then underlined his advantage with a 1m23.425s as the track conditions continued to improve – almost a second faster than Rowland's earlier mark.

Dean Stoneman overshot Ste Devote before jumping up to second on 1m24.728s, but was then eclipsed by Matthieu Vaxiviere late on. He will start third overall, with Stoneman directly behind in fifth.

During this session, Roy Nissany smote the barrier at Massenet without injury or the need for a red flag.

Later on, the starting grid was revised after problems with the timing system in Group A became apparent - promoting de Vries to second in the group and thus fourth on the grid, half a second behind Rowland's time. 

Ellinas thus dropped to sixth, with Malja eighth and Fantin dropping from a provisional sixth down to 10th.

Starting grid:

Pos Driver Team Time/Gap
Jazeman Jaafar Fortec Motorsports 1m23.425
Oliver Rowland Fortec Motorsports 0.945
Matthieu Vaxiviere Lotus 0.402
Nyck de Vries DAMS 1.488
Dean Stoneman DAMS 0.702
Tio Ellinas Strakka Racing 1.702
Tom Dillmann Carlin 0.963
Gustav Malja Strakka Racing 1.907
Egor Orudzhev Arden Motorsport 1.210
10  Pietro Fantin International Draco Racing 2.019
11  Nicholas Latifi Arden Motorsport 1.603
12  Alfonso Celis AVF 2.425
13  Bruno Bonifácio International Draco Racing 1.934
14  Beitske Visser AVF 2.448
15  Aurelien Panis Tech 1 Racing 2.234
16  Meindert van Buuren Lotus 2.923
17  Alex Fontana Pons Racing 2.742
18  Sean Gelael Carlin 3.416
19  Roy Nissany Tech 1 Racing 4.697
20  Philo Paz Armand Pons Racing 10.788
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About this article
Series Formula V8 3.5
Event Monaco
Track Monte Carlo
Drivers Jazeman Jaafar , Oliver Rowland
Teams Fortec Motorsports
Article type Qualifying report