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Monaco FR3.5: Norman Nato beats Carlos Sainz Jr to pole

Norman Nato, DAMS, Monaco FR3.5 2014

Norman Nato beat championship leader Carlos Sainz Jr to lead a DAMS lockout of the front row for the Formula Renault 3.5 race supporting the Monaco Grand Prix.

The Frenchman, who also led a DAMS one-two in free practice, stole top spot in the second group of qualifying from Jazeman Jaafar just before the chequered flag came out.

Nato had been a factor at the front throughout the session, trading places with Jaafar and rookie Oliver Rowland, who eventually had to settle for best of the rest behind the pair with more Monaco experience.

Jaafar appeared to have struck a decisive blow in the battle when he went fastest by four tenths of a second, shortly after Nato had bettered Sainz's time from the first qualifying group.

Nato's next lap was 0.1s adrift of the Malaysian, but he found a fraction more on his following effort to take pole.

By topping the first group, Sainz sealed a front row slot after a session where four drivers were in contention at the top.

NEWS UPDATE: Carlos Sainz handed two-place grid penalty

Marco Sorensen, Sergey Sirotkin and Pierre Gasly all threatened to knock the Spaniard back, but once the second runs were under way the championship leader appeared to have them all under control as he repeatedly bettered his time.

Jaafar and Sorensen - both podium finishers behind Nico Muller in Monaco last year - will share the second row, with Fortec team-mates Rowland and Sirotkin next up to complete the top six.

Pos Driver               Team       Time              
 1. Norman Nato          DAMS       1m23.209s  Group B
 2. Carlos Sainz         DAMS       1m23.873s  Group A
 3. Jazeman Jaafar       ISR        1m23.301s  Group B
 4. Marco Sorensen       Tech 1     1m24.262s  Group A
 5. Oliver Rowland       Fortec     1m23.666s  Group B
 6. Sergey Sirotkin      Fortec     1m24.675s  Group A
 7. Zoel Amberg          AVF        1m23.702s  Group B
 8. Pierre Gasly         Arden      1m24.828s  Group A
 9. Will Stevens         Strakka    1m23.924s  Group B
10. Roberto Merhi        Zeta       1m24.925s  Group A
11. Pietro Fantin        Draco      1m23.944s  Group B
12. Meindert van Buuren  Pons       1m25.107s  Group A
13. Marlon Stockinger    Lotus      1m24.328s  Group B
14. Roman Mavlanov       Zeta       1m25.714s  Group A
15. William Buller       Arden      1m24.365s  Group B
16. Matias Laine         Strakka    1m25.834s  Group A
17. Oliver Webb          Pons       1m24.776s  Group B
18. Matthieu Vaxiviere   Lotus      1m26.072s  Group A
19. Beitske Visser       AVF        1m25.469s  Group B
20. Luca Ghiotto         Draco      1m26.153s  Group A
21. Andrea Roda          Comtec     1m29.698s  Group A
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