Merhi and Bottas the winning duo Just as at the Nurburgring, Roberto Merhi (Epsilon Euskadi) and Valtteri Bottas (Motopark Academy) took the two pole positions up for grabs. With the track drying out by the minute, it all went down to the very...
Merhi and Bottas the winning duo
Just as at the Nurburgring, Roberto Merhi (Epsilon Euskadi) and Valtteri Bottas (Motopark Academy) took the two pole positions up for grabs. With the track drying out by the minute, it all went down to the very last lap of the SuperPole. Andrea Caldarelli (SG Formula) had a successful time, qualifying in second place for both the weekend's races.
The track was still wet, but conditions were improving when the first group got going. Daniel Ricciardo (SG Formula), then Mathieu Arzeno (Epsilon Sport), were the first to lead the race for pole, and the pace quickened with each lap. In the dying moments of the session, Tobias Hegewald (Motopark Academy) claimed the honours with a time of 1'54''835, ahead of Daniel Ricciardo and Dean Smith (Fortec Motorsport).
In Group B, Jean-Eric Vergne (SG Formula) took an early lead, trailed by Andrea Caldarelli (SG Formula), Daniel Zampieri (BVM Minardi) and Roberto Merhi (Epsilon Euskadi). Caldarelli then moved up into provisional pole position, but in front of his home crowd, Jean-Ã^Eric Vergne looked in determined mood and reclaimed the lead just before the chequered flag with a time of 1'54''569. Caldarelli was second, and Zampieri third.
Wet tyres or slicks? That was the tough decision facing the 24 qualified drivers as they lined up for the SuperPole. Only Cesar Ramos (BVM Minardi Team) and Adrian Quaiffe-Hobbs (BVM Minardi Team) opted for slicks from the off. Most of the field followed suit one lap later.
Ramos immediately showed that slicks were the right choice, grabbing provisional pole position. But it was the end of the session that proved decisive.
The Motopark Academy drivers picked up the pace with six minutes to go. First Tobias Hegewald, then Valtteri Bottas took the lead. The Finn was joined in pole position by Richard Singleton - who was credited with exactly the same time - before Daniel Ricciardo moved ahead of them both.
Ricciardo and Bottas jostled for first position, swapping places every lap but, as predicted, it all came down to the last. With seconds to go, Roberto Merhi and Andrea Caldarelli produced the goods to finish first and second respectively. Merhi thus claims his second pole position of the season with a time of 1'37''860. As at the Nurburgring, Valtteri Bottas will start from pole in race two.
Roberto Merhi: I gave it my all on the last two laps. I made a slight error at my first attempt, then on the last lap I overtook another driver. But I got pole anyway! I need to win the first race, because I'm only starting from fifth on Sunday, which will make things more difficult.
Valtteri Bottas: I got caught up in the traffic, which was a shame because I could have got both pole positions. Like at the Nurburgring, I'll have to be wary of Merhi!