Norisring European F3: Felix Rosenqvist snatches last-gasp pole
|By Marcus Simmons||Friday, June 27th 2014, 16:44 GMT|
Felix Rosenqvist snatched pole position on the very last lap of a thrilling qualifying session for this weekend's opening Formula 3 European Championship race at the Norisring.
The Swede found a chunk of time thanks to finally nailing the final corner, with which he had been having trouble all day, in his Mucke Motorsport Dallara-Mercedes.
The lap denied championship leader Esteban Ocon of pole by just three thousandths of a second - the Lotus F1 junior's Prema Powerteam Dallara-Mercedes had languished in the lower reaches of the top 20 halfway through the session, before the Frenchman leapt up the order with a few minutes remaining.
The early pacesetter was Max Verstappen, who sat on pole by three tenths at the mid-point in his Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara-Volkswagen.
He ended up only 11 thousandths adrift of Rosenqvist, citing bad luck with traffic and suggesting that there could be a rethink on tyre pressures before Saturday's opening race.
Rosenqvist was understandably happy with his first pole of the 2014 F3 season.
"In the beginning I was trying to get a slipstream," he said, "but then I decided to go alone and work on my references. I think I made the right decision.
"I don't really enjoy driving this track, but as long as we are quick I don't mind."
Tom Blomqvist was a contender for much of the session, but finally fell two tenths short in the lead Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen to take fourth on the grid.
As well as Rosenqvist, the Mucke team got three drivers in the top six, with Lucas Auer fifth and Roy Nissany - the surprise of the weekend to date - in sixth pace.
Nissany headed a group of eight drivers covered by a tenth of a second, with Carlin's Jake Dennis next, and Gustavo Menezes, Mitch Gilbert and Jordan King completing the top 10.
Highlighting Ocon's performance was the form of his Prema team-mates, with Nicholas Latifi, Antonio Fuoco and Dennis van de Laar down in 11th, 14th and 19th respectively.
The field is so close that 25 of the 26 drivers qualified within a second of pole.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Felix Rosenqvist Mucke Dallara-Merc 48.082s 2. Esteban Ocon Prema Dallara-Merc 48.085s +0.003s 3. Max Verstappen Van Amersfoort Dallara-VW 48.093s +0.011s 4. Tom Blomqvist Carlin Dallara-VW 48.262s +0.180s 5. Lucas Auer Mucke Dallara-Merc 48.321s +0.239s 6. Roy Nissany Mucke Dallara-Merc 48.432s +0.350s 7. Jake Dennis Carlin Dallara-VW 48.437s +0.355s 8. Gustavo Menezes Van Amersfoort Dallara-VW 48.439s +0.357s 9. Mitchell Gilbert Fortec Dallara-Merc 48.466s +0.384s 10. Jordan King Carlin Dallara-VW 48.470s +0.388s 11. Nicholas Latifi Prema Dallara-Merc 48.489s +0.407s 12. Jules Szymkowiak Van Amersfoort Dallara-VW 48.495s +0.413s 13. Antonio Giovinazzi Carlin Dallara-VW 48.509s +0.427s 14. Antonio Fuoco Prema Dallara-Merc 48.576s +0.494s 15. Spike Goddard T-Sport Dallara-NBE 48.646s +0.564s 16. Felix Serralles West-Tec Dallara-Merc 48.650s +0.568s 17. Tatiana Calderon Jo Zeller Dallara-Merc 48.704s +0.622s 18. Sean Gelael Carlin Dallara-VW 48.797s +0.715s 19. Dennis van de Laar Prema Dallara-Merc 48.835s +0.753s 20. Santino Ferrucci Eurointernational Dallara-Merc 48.838s +0.756s 21. Michele Beretta Eurointernational Dallara-Merc 48.858s +0.776s 22. Felipe Guimaraes Double R Dallara-Merc 48.903s +0.821s 23. Sandro Zeller Jo Zeller Dallara-Merc 48.955s +0.873s 24. Alexander Toril T-Sport Dallara-NBE 48.979s +0.897s 25. John Bryant-Meisner Fortec Dallara-Merc 49.051s +0.969s 26. Hector Hurst West-Tec Dallara-Merc 49.342s +1.260s