Vaxiviere snatches opening Formula Renault 3.5 pole

Matthieu Vaxiviere edged out Gustav Malja for the first pole position of the new Formula Renault 3.5 season with a last-gasp improvement in qualifying at Aragon.

The Lotus driver set his best effort of 1’41.446s mere seconds before the chequered flag to beat series newcomer Malja by just 25 thousandths of a second.

Vaxiviere had spent much of the opening half of the 30-minute session trading fastest times with Carlin’s Tom Dillmann, before Jazeman Jaafar seized provisional pole just before the entire field pitted for fresh tyres at the halfway stage.

When the action resumed for the final 10 minutes, Jaafar’s Fortec teammate Oliver Rowland leaped to the top of the timesheets, only to be deposed immediately by compatriot Dean Stoneman (DAMS) and then Malja (Strakka) with just two minutes to go.

The Swede nonetheless missed out on taking pole for his FR3.5 debut as a result of Vaxiviere’s last-ditch improvement.

Rowland made a late jump to third, just under two tenths shy of the pace, with Vaxiviere’s teammate Meindert van Buuren, Jaafar and Dillmann all lapping within three tenths of the poleman to fill the first three rows.

Stoneman wound up in seventh, three places ahead of teammate and McLaren junior Nyck de Vries, while Manor Formula 1 driver Roberto Merhi will start from 13th in his first FR3.5 outing for Pons Racing.

Qualifying results:

Pos Driver Team Time/Gap
Matthieu Vaxiviere Lotus 1m41.446
Gustav Malja Strakka Racing 0.025
Oliver Rowland Fortec Motorsports 0.182
Meindert van Buuren Lotus 0.228
Jazeman Jaafar Fortec Motorsports 0.246
Tom Dillmann Carlin 0.263
Dean Stoneman DAMS 0.311
Tio Ellinas Strakka Racing 0.398
Nicholas Latifi Arden Motorsport 0.475
10  Nyck de Vries DAMS 0.595
11  Pietro Fantin Draco 0.703
12  Beitske Visser AVF 0.824
13  Roberto Merhi Pons Racing 1.025
14  Egor Orudzhev Arden Motorsport 1.083
15  Sean Gelael Carlin 1.178
16  Alfonso Celis AVF 1.232
17  Roy Nissany Tech 1 Racing 1.232
18  Bruno Bonifacio Draco 1.449
19  Philo Paz Armand Pons Racing 1.519
20  Aurelien Panis Tech 1 Racing 1.644


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About this article
Series Formula V8 3.5
Event Aragon
Track Motorland Aragon
Drivers Matthieu Vaxiviere , Oliver Rowland , Gustav Malja
Article type Qualifying report