Magnussen lands first Formula Renault 3.5 pole at Spa-Francorchamps
|By Glenn Freeman||Saturday, June 2nd 2012, 08:50 GMT|
Kevin Magnussen took his first Formula Renault 3.5 pole position at Spa on Saturday morning.
The Carlin rookie was a factor in the fight for pole throughout the session, and he had to respond to two stunning laps from championship leader Sam Bird (ISR) to regain the place he held for much of qualifying.
While Bird's initial lap was just enough to edge him into first place, the Briton appeared to be repeating his Monaco qualifying performance when his second lap took him 0.8 seconds clear of the field with six minutes to go.
But Magnussen, who quickly looked at home around the Belgian track during Friday's free practice sessions, was able to respond to the Briton's time three minutes later to grab pole by less than one tenth of a second.
Marco Sorensen was consistently on the fringes of the pole position battle and took third on the grid for Lotus, while Jules Bianchi (Tech 1), who did not set a lap-time until 24 minutes into the 30-minute session, managed to set the fourth quickest time with only his second hot lap.
Bianchi had briefly appeared on track earlier on, but the first half of qualifying was heavily disrupted. Richie Stanaway (Lotus) brought out the red flags six minutes in when he got on the dirt off line at Malmedy and crashed, while officials put out a full-course yellow flag for four minutes just before halfway when RFR's Anton Nebilitskiy stopped at Raidillion.
Behind Bianchi, Fortec team-mates Carlos Huertas and Robin Frijns make up the third row, ahead of former champion Mikhail Aleshin (RFR) and Bird's ISR team-mate Jake Rosenzweig. Draco's Nico Muller and DAMS driver Arthur Pic complete the top 10.
Several drivers did not get a chance to complete their final hot laps, as Yann Cunha (Pons) brought out the red flags with 16 seconds left on the clock when he spun on the exit of Fagnes and could not get going.
Championship frontrunner Kevin Korjus was the slowest qualifier, after his Tech 1 car was the latest to be struck by the pneumatic pressure problem which has affected several cars so far this season.
The Estonian, who could not change gear once the problem struck, will start on the penultimate row of the grid, as Stanaway and Nebilitskiy had their best times taken away and did not have a second lap-time to fall back on.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Kevin Magnussen Carlin 1m57.423s 2. Sam Bird ISR 1m57.492s + 0.069s 3. Marco Sorensen Lotus 1m57.623s + 0.200s 4. Jules Bianchi Tech 1 1m57.822s + 0.399s 5. Carlos Huertas Fortec 1m57.982s + 0.559s 6. Robin Frijns Fortec 1m58.249s + 0.826s 7. Mikhail Aleshin RFR 1m58.267s + 0.844s 8. Jake Rosenzweig ISR 1m58.382s + 0.959s 9. Nico Muller Draco 1m58.440s + 1.017s 10. Arthur Pic DAMS 1m58.451s + 1.028s 11. Will Stevens Carlin 1m58.533s + 1.110s 12. Daniil Move P1 1m58.638s + 1.215s 13. Nick Yelloly Comtec 1m58.702s + 1.279s 14. Walter Grubmuller P1 1m59.148s + 1.725s 15. Alexander Rossi Arden 1m59.190s + 1.767s 16. Andre Negrao Draco 1m59.435s + 2.012s 17. Nikolay Martsenko BVM Target 1m59.532s + 2.109s 18. Lewis Williamson Arden 1m59.684s + 2.261s 19. Vittorio Ghirelli Comtec 1m59.876s + 2.453s 20. Zoel Amberg Pons 1m59.933s + 2.510s 21. Giovanni Venturini BVM Target 2m00.053s + 2.630s 22. Yann Cunha Pons 2m00.220s + 2.797s 23. Lucas Foresti DAMS 2m00.538s + 3.115s 24. Kevin Korjus Tech 1 2m04.276s + 6.853s 25. Richie Stanaway Lotus - 26. Anton Nebylitskiy RFR -