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FORMULA RENAULT 3.5 NEWS 

Monaco poleman Sam Bird says qualifying crash won't faze him in the race

Sam Bird, Monaco 2012Sam Bird says his crash shortly after taking Formula Renault 3.5 pole position at Monaco will not faze him going into the race on Sunday.

The Mercedes F1 reserve driver dominated qualifying on Saturday morning, topping his group by one second and beating the best time from the other group - set by Alexander Rossi by 0.7 seconds.

Bird then crashed at Sainte Devote seconds after setting his best lap, but he said afterwards that he had already put the crash behind him.

"The session was challenging from a communication point of view because the team had no live timing trackside," Bird explained. "So while they could tell me on the radio that I was quickest, I had no idea by what margin.

"For all I knew, it might have been by a thousandth of a second. Had I known that the margin to P2 was a lot more, I might not have tried to push the envelope to that extent on the final lap.

"But there you go. That's history. We're on pole and that's what matters."

Bird's performance received praise from team bosses and rival drivers throughout the FR3.5 paddock, with Rossi and championship leader Robin Frijns both admitting that they had no chance of matching his time.

Monaco rookie Frijns, who was third in Bird's group, told AUTOSPORT: "I maybe could have found a bit more time, so I'm a little bit disappointed with the gap [to pole].

"But I have no idea where I can find a second to match Sam. He did a great job."

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