Mortara clinches Norisring pole

Formula 3 Euro Series championship leader Edoardo Mortara took pole position for race one at the Norisring in a frantic qualifying session

Mortara clinches Norisring pole

The Signature driver held the top spot for the majority of the session after setting an impressive early benchmark. But his rivals chipped away at his time as the session wore on, and eventually he was bumped down to third by Valtteri Bottas and Marco Wittmann.

Mortara responded in the final minute of the session to re-take pole, and then extended his narrow advantage over Bottas with his final lap of the session.

The battle at the front was fought out exclusively by the Volkswagen-powered Signature drivers and Mercedes-powered ART cars.

Bottas, Wittmann and Alexander Sims were all capable of going as fast as Mortara in individual sectors, but none of them could string a lap together as well as the ex-GP2 racer.

Behind the top two, the second row of the grid will look similar to the first, with the blue and white Signature car of Wittmann heading the red and white ART entry of Sims.

Series rookie Laurens Vanthoor made sure that all three Signature cars made it into the top five, while Carlos Munoz was best of the rest for Mucke Motorsport in sixth, just ahead of his team-mate Roberto Merhi.

The other two teams in the Euro Series - Prema Powerteam and Motopark Academy - both struggled. Their cars will occupy four of the final five slots on the grid.

The thin Euro Series grid is down from 13 cars to 12 this weekend, as Motopark has been unable to find a full-time replacement for GP3 convert Adrian Quaife-Hobbs.

Pos Driver Team Car Time Gap 1. Edoardo Mortara Signature D/V 48.963s 2. Valtteri Bottas ART D/M 49.000s + 0.037s 3. Marco Wittmann Signature D/V 49.063s + 0.100s 4. Alexander Sims ART D/M 49.151s + 0.188s 5. Laurens Vanthoor Signature D/V 49.319s + 0.356s 6. Carlos Munoz Mucke D/M 49.463s + 0.500s 7. Roberto Merhi Mucke D/M 49.514s + 0.551s 8. Nicolas Marroc Prema D/M 49.555s + 0.592s 9. Jim Pla ART D/M 49.578s + 0.615s 10. Matias Laine Motopark D/V 49.605s + 0.642s 11. Daniel Juncadella Prema D/M 49.691s + 0.728s 12. Antonio Felix da Costa Motopark D/V 49.843s + 0.880s 
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