Manning snatches Korean pole

Briton Darren Manning put in a brilliant effort on Saturday to claim pole position for tomorrow's first ever International Formula 3 Korea Grand Prix

Manning snatches Korean pole

The TOM'S driver had only been seventh fastest overall at the end of the morning's first qualifying session and had been left frustrated with rival Julien Beltoise, who had blocked him on one of his fastest laps.

But in the final session, with time running out, he drove brilliantly to move to the top of the time sheets. His pole position spot was confirmed when the best driver in the second session, Japanese Formula Three rival Toshihiro Kaneishi, could not beat his time.

'I am delighted with this result,' said Manning, who stands to win $100,000 if he wins both heats at the Changwong circuit on Sunday. 'I was annoyed this morning when my best lap was ruined by a slower car, but this afternoon I got everything right and I am overjoyed.

'As far as the money goes, I am not worried about the pressure at the moment but if I am leading the second heat, I am sure I will be thinking about it.'

Kaneishi put in his quick lap in the dying minutes of the second session to deny Briton Jenson Button a front row place on the grid. The Prema Racing driver, who had been drafted into the team as a replacement for the injured Juan Manuel Lopez, was looking forward to Sunday's race.

'I have raced with Darren all year in Japan, so I know what he is like and what his equipment is like,' he explained. 'But I am in a different car with a different engine to what I am used to, so we will have to see what happens on Sunday.'

Third place on the grid went to Dutchman Christijan Albers, who enjoyed a session long battle with Manning that delighted the Korean crowd which had turned out in force to watch the drivers compete. But the German Formula Three champion admitted that the six-tenths gap to Manning was more than he had hoped for.

'I could not have gone any faster,' Albers revealed. 'I was pushing to the limit throughout the session and I am disappointed that Manning is so much faster. It will be difficult to match him if he is that fast in the race tomorrow.'

Button was disappointed that he could not improve his provisional pole position time that he had set in the first session.

'I don't know whether it was the track conditions or because of the car,' he said. 'We were only just quicker on new tyres in that session, so something was not right.'

There were several incidents during both qualifying sessions. Seiji Ara and Matt Davies caused the first session to be stopped when they crashed their cars, while Davies damaged his car in the second session as well.

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