Robert Wickens opens his account In his element since the beginning of this meeting, Robert Wickens (Carlin Motorsport) has claimed his first pole position in Formula Renault 3.5 Series ahead of Giedo Van der Garde (P1 Motorsport). Van der Garde...
Robert Wickens opens his account
In his element since the beginning of this meeting, Robert Wickens (Carlin Motorsport) has claimed his first pole position in Formula Renault 3.5 Series ahead of Giedo Van der Garde (P1 Motorsport). Van der Garde thus remains very much in contention at this meeting, unlike some of his nearest Championship rivals.
Initial leader Julien Jousse (Tech 1 Racing) was quickly outdone by Robert Wickens and Salvador Duran (Interwetten.com Racing). Duran then stepped up his efforts to match Wickens's time exactly! As the drivers pulled into the pits for a fresh set of tyres, Guillaume Moreau (KTR) and Alvaro Barba (Prema Powerteam) took advantage to move into third and fourth respectively.
Robert Wickens dominated the second part of the session, improving his time first to 1'31''995 then to 1'31''839. Meanwhile Guillaume Moreau sneaked into second ahead of Salvador Duran. The Ultimate Signature boys also produced an impressive showing. Fifth-placed Fabio Carbone and sixth-placed Esteban Guerrieri did enough to earn a place in the SuperPole, unlike Julien Jousse, Mikhail Aleshin (Carlin Motorsport) and James Walker (Fortec Motorsport), whose efforts to improve on their times would prove fruitless.
Giedo Van der Garde and Bertrand Baguette (International Draco Racing) started strongly and improved from there. The Championship leader took the lead with a time of 1'32''556, and when the drivers stopped off for new tyres, these two were still out in front, with Miguel Molina (Prema Powerteam), Marco Barba (International Draco Racing), Charles Pic (Tech 1 Racing) and Fairuz Fauzy (Fortec Motorsport) behind them.
Van der Garde further improved his time (1'32''239) to consolidate his lead, while Marco Martinez (Pons Racing) leapt into second, ahead of Fauzy and Baguette. Marco Bonanomi (Red Devil Comtec) moved up into the top 6, which would have been good enough to win him a place in the SuperPole, had Charles Pic not moved past him, and Marco Barba, into fifth spot, leaving Bonanomi in seventh and out in the cold.
Clearly at ease on this circuit, Robert Wickens immediately took the lead on his first flying lap.
The standings would be in constant flux thereafter, however, as first Esteban Guerrieri, then, just a few seconds later, Pons Racing's Marco Martinez (1'32''370), went top.
Just after the halfway mark, championship leader Giedo Van der Garde climbed into provisional pole position with a time of 1'31''801. Robert Wickens hit back instantly, however, lapping in 1'31''582, which was enough to give the Canadian driver his first pole in Formula Renault 3.5 Series.
Salvador Duran ultimately clocked the fourth-fastest time, ahead of Marcos Martinez. Fabio Carbone and Alvaro Barba - seventh and eighth respectively - are the biggest beneficiaries of the reverse order start grid for race 1. They will start from the front row.
Robert Wickens: Carlin Motorsport have got a really good car ready for me. Qualifying has been my weakness so far this season, so I'm really happy to have put that right. I need to win some races, so I'm going to have to take more risks than usual to try and come out on top.
Giedo Van der Garde: This is the third time in a row I've got the second fastest time in qualifying! We're in the race, which is not the case for my nearest challengers in the Championship. So my goal is to avoid the potential pitfalls of the first race and score some points. As for the second race, we'll see!