First pole for Aleshin Mikhail Aleshin (Carlin Motorsport) will start from pole position for the first World Series race of 2007. The Russian will be joined on the front row by the Italian Marco Bonanomi (RC Motorsport), who took the best...
First pole for Aleshin
Mikhail Aleshin (Carlin Motorsport) will start from pole position for the first World Series race of 2007. The Russian will be joined on the front row by the Italian Marco Bonanomi (RC Motorsport), who took the best time in his group. The rookie Julien Jousse (Tech 1 Racing) confirmed his excellent form in grabbing third spot on row two, alongside Sebastian Vettel (Carlin Motorsport) in fourth.
The first qualifying session of the season saw the 30 Formula Renault 3.5 cars split up into two groups according to their car numbers, with the even numbers in group A and the odd numbers in group B.
With only one set of tyres available for the session, the majority of the favourites waited for a few minutes before heading out onto the track. Half-way through the session, Davide Valsecchi (Epsilon Euskadi) dipped under the 1'39'' mark, and then bettered to go under 1'38'' on his next lap.
On his fourth lap, Alvaro Parente (Tech 1 Racing) grabbed the top spot. With 13 minutes gone, the Portuguese driver held the best time, ahead of Marco Bonanomi (RC Motorsport) and Alvaro Barba (Draco Racing). Parente kept up his momentum and improved his time on the next lap to 1'37''290. Bonanomi remained second ahead of Valsecchi and Moreau.
With five minutes left, Marco Bonanomi bettered Parente's time. The Italian then went below the 1'37'' mark on his next lap, with a time of 1'36''967. Parente also improved, but was unable to better the RC driver's time. Off the pace earlier on, Sebastian Vettel (Carlin Motorsport) hit form to improve his time on each of the last three laps. He missed out on his quest for the best time by just 4/1000ths! Bonanomi held onto his front row spot, ahead of Vettel, Parente, Moreau and Barba.
The session came to an extremely premature end for James Walker (Fortec Motorsport), out due to gearbox failure. As with the first group, it wasn't until half-way through the session that the action really got underway. Mikhail Aleshin (Carlin Motorsport) set the time to beat in 1'37''330. Julien Jousse (Tech 1 Racing) put in a quick time to go second but was still 6/10ths adrift of the Russian.
Aleshin and Jousse improved their times on each lap. With a time of 1'36''145, Aleshin then comfortably bettered Bonanomi's time to take provisional pole position.
With four minutes to go, the provisional top five featured Mikhail Aleshin, Julien Jousse, Giedo van der Garde (Victory Engineering), Clivio Piccione (RC Motorsport) and Filipe Albuquerque (Epsilon Euskadi). Fairuz Fauzy (Cram Competition) managed to muscle his way into fourth spot just before the session was brought under full yellow after Jaap van Lagen (Red Devil Comtec) crashed off.
The green flag was only shown again with one minute to go. Only Bertrand Baguette (KTR) managed to improve, snatching fourth place from Fauzy.
Mikhail Aleshin: "It's good, but the day is far from over yet! I hope that things will go well in the race. The first chicane is probably going to be extremely hotly contested. We are going to work on the car to make sure we have the same performance levels during the race."
Marco Bonanomi: "This front row position is a fantastic result for me and the team, but I'm not getting carried away -- I'm focused on the race. It will be important to get away to a good start, so as to lead into the first chicane if possible. Two years ago, I won the two F3 races held at this circuit."