Lotus’ Matthieu Vaxiviere snatched pole in Qualifying 2 of Formula Renault 3.5 weekend at Spielberg after a drizzle spiced up the pole battle.
With 13 minutes into the session, it started to rain in Spielberg with Pons Racing’s Meindert van Buuren on top. Maiden pole for the Dutch driver was in sight until the last six minutes of the session.
As the track started to dry, the lap times dipped with Manor F1’s Roberto Merhi (Pons Racing) being the first to improve in the drying condition.
But he was soon toppled by his rivals until Fortec Motorsports’ Oliver Rowland went to the top of the table after the chequered flag was raised. That was not it for the session as Vaxiviere improved further to finish on pole with a time of 1:18.160; his fourth pole of the season.
Rowland was pushed to third then after when Merhi too improved to go second behind the French driver; the Spaniard ended 0.287 seconds behind Vaxiviere.
DAMS’ Nyck de Vries finished fourth while Tech 1 Racing’s Roy Nissany rounded off the top five for Race 2 of the weekend.
The returning Marlon Stockinger (Lotus) qualified sixth as Buuren’s earlier advantage diminished with the condition improving, he finished seventh.
The top ten was completed by Alfonso Celis Jr (AVF) at eighth, Nicholas Latifi (Arden Motorsport) ninth and Pietro Fantin (International Draco Racing) tenth.
Apart from the rain, the session was red flagged for a brief period after AVF’s Beitske Visser stopped on track with 16:21 minutes remaining in the session.
There was even a yellow flag interruption prior to the red flag stoppage, for Arden Motorsport’s Egor Orudzhev who ended twentieth, having only managed to do two laps.
Race 1 is slated to start at 10:25 local time while Race 2 will start at 18:20 local time on Sunday.