Spa FR3.5: Carlos Sainz Jr leads Red Bull juniors front row
|By Glenn Freeman||Saturday, May 31st 2014, 09:08 GMT|
Carlos Sainz Jr led a Red Bull juniors lock-out of the front row for the opening Formula Renault 3.5 race of the weekend at Spa ahead of Pierre Gasly.
Championship leader Sainz, who led the way after the first runs of the session, removed Gasly from top spot with around a minute to go, having been the last car to rejoin the track for a second run.
While the Spaniard could not improve on his final lap - going 0.2 seconds slower - he held onto pole as several of his closest challengers also failed to set a better time as the chequered flag came out.
That left Gasly unchallenged for the second spot on the front row too, while Sauber Formula 1 junior Sergey Sirotkin was able to go faster at the end and took third spot.
The second row was completed by GP3 racer Richie Stanaway, who returns to FR3.5 this weekend in place of the injured Matthieu Vaxiviere, two years on from an accident at this circuit that threatened to end his career.
Roberto Merhi, Pietro Fantin, Matias Laine, Zoel Amberg and Marlon Stockinger all got the most out of their final runs to get into the top 10, while some of the more-fancied runners fell back after looking strong during the first runs.
Oliver Rowland and Norman Nato had been in contention at the front with Sainz and Sirotkin as Fortec and DAMS took control of the first half of the session, but while their team-mates remained a factor in the fight for pole, Rowland slipped to 10th and Monaco winner Nato to 12th.
Monaco podium finishers Marco Sorensen and Jazeman Jaafar - both racing without team-mates this season for Lotus and ISR respectively - had to settle for the seventh row of the grid, just ahead of Monza race winner Will Stevens in 15th.
Follow the first Spa-Francorchamps FR3.5 race as it happens on AUTOSPORT Race Centre Live from approximately 2:15pm UK time on Saturday
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Carlos Sainz Jr DAMS 1m58.681s 2. Pierre Gasly Arden 1m58.802s +0.121s 3. Sergey Sirotkin Fortec 1m58.818s +0.137s 4. Richie Stanaway Lotus 1m58.855s +0.174s 5. Roberto Merhi Zeta Corse 1m59.298s +0.617s 6. Pietro Fantin Draco 1m58.993s +0.312s 7. Matias Laine Strakka 1m58.944s +0.263s 8. Zoel Amberg AVF 1m59.015s +0.334s 9. Marlon Stockinger Lotus 1m59.150s +0.469s 10. Oliver Rowland Fortec 1m59.151s +0.470s 11. Luca Ghiotto Draco 1m59.206s +0.525s 12. Norman Nato DAMS 1m59.221s +0.540s 13. Marco Sorensen Tech 1 1m59.229s +0.548s 14. Jazeman Jaafar ISR 1m59.260s +0.579s 15. Will Stevens Strakka 1m59.388s +0.707s 16. Will Buller Arden 1m59.477s +0.796s 17. Meindert van Buuren Pons Racing 1m59.610s +0.929s 18. Beitske Visser AVF 1m59.692s +1.011s 19. Oscar Tunjo Pons Racing 1m59.965s +1.284s 20. Roman Mavlanov Zeta Corse 2m01.118s +2.437s