Bottas grabs first pole of the season

Valtteri Bottas took his first pole position of the Formula 3 Euro Series season at Oschersleben, leading team-mate Alexander Sims for an ART front row

Bottas grabs first pole of the season

The Williams Formula 1 test driver controlled the session from the beginning, and was never headed at the top of the times. But there was a frantic battle for the places behind him, with Sims grabbing second place as the last driver to complete a lap in the session.

That effort from the Briton robbed Antonio Felix da Costa of a maiden front row start for a Saturday race this year. The Portuguese driver has won the past three reversed grid Sunday races, but he had been targeting improved performances in qualifying.

Da Costa will be joined on the second row by Daniel Juncadella, while Roberto Merhi got himself into the top five with a lap in the final minute of qualifying.

That left Laurens Vanthoor as the lead driver for 2010 champion team Signature. The French squad endured its first difficult qualifying session of the year, with Vanthoor ending up 0.9 seconds adrift of the pace.

Remarkably, his championship leading team-mates Edoardo Mortara and Marco Wittmann will share the fifth row of the grid.

Wittmann, who needs to outscore Mortara by two points in the race to prevent the title from being decided tomorrow, never featured towards the sharp end. Mortara briefly got as high as third with four minutes to go, before he was gradually bumped back to ninth.

Motopark Academy's two new additions to the 2010 grid could not trouble the top end of the times. GP3 racer and F3 veteran Renger van der Zande could only manage 12th, while his fellow GP3 racer Tobias Hegewald will line up at the back in 14th.

Pos Driver Team Car Time Gap 1. Valtteri Bottas ART D/M 1m20.412s 2. Alexander Sims ART D/M 1m21.016s + 0.604s 3. Antonio Felix da Costa Motopark D/V 1m21.087s + 0.675s 4. Daniel Juncadella Prema D/M 1m21.166s + 0.754s 5. Roberto Merhi Mucke D/M 1m21.193s + 0.781s 6. Laurens Vanthoor Signature D/V 1m21.355s + 0.943s 7. Jim Pla ART D/M 1m21.387s + 0.975s 8. Carlos Munoz Mucke D/M 1m21.576s + 1.164s 9. Edoardo Mortara Signature D/V 1m21.708s + 1.296s 10. Marco Wittmann Signature D/V 1m21.770s + 1.358s 11. Nicolas Marroc Prema D/M 1m21.807s + 1.395s 12. Renger van der Zande Motopark D/V 1m21.851s + 1.439s 13. Matias Laine Motopark D/V 1m21.935s + 1.523s 14. Tobias Hegewald Motopark D/V 1m22.605s + 2.193s 
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