Monaco FR3.5: Norman Nato beats Carlos Sainz Jr to pole
|By Glenn Freeman||Saturday, May 24th 2014, 08:14 GMT|
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.
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