Jerez FV8 3.5: Renault junior Jack Aitken grabs pole on debut

Renault protege and GP3 race winner Jack Aitken claimed a shock pole position for his maiden Formula V8 3.5 race at Jerez

Aitken is contesting the final two rounds of the series with RP Motorsport, with which he has also raced in the EuroFormula Open Championship this year.

After topping practice on Friday afternoon, the Briton secured pole for the opening Jerez race with a time of 1m26.978s.

"That was unexpected," he admitted.

"I did drive the Formula Renault 3.5 car during the rookie test last year and in winter testing, as I was considering this championship, but we didn't get too deep into it.

"However, I know the team, I know the circuit and I sort of know the car.

"If I get away cleanly in the race today we should be on for a good result, as it is so difficult to overtake here."

SMP Racing pair Matevos Isaakyan and Matthieu Vaxiviere claimed second and third spots on the grid, Isaakyan 0.197 seconds shy of Aitken and Vaxiviere 0.633s adrift.

Aitken's fellow Renault Academy junior Louis Deletraz was fourth fastest, ahead of the pacesetter in first practice on Friday, Egor Orudzhev, and Yu Kanamaru.

Leading Deletraz by 11 points in the championship, AVF's Tom Dillmann will start seventh.

Orudzhev's Arden team-mate Aurelien Panis qualified ninth as he continues his recovery from a back injury sustained at Monza earlier this month.

British F3 race winner Thomas Randle qualified 15th on his Formula V8 3.5 debut with the returning Comtec outfit.

UPDATE: Aitken's RP Motorsport entry was found to be outside of the series' technical regulations during post-qualifying checks.

He will, however, start the race from pole position under appeal.

The area of contention is understood to be a sidepod modification in front of the rear wheel, with a part of the bodywork that is usually vertical reported to have had a slight curve cut into it to create space for the exhaust exit.

"The decision will be suspended, as the team has decided to compete on appeal. Jack Aitken will therefore be allowed to start from pole," Jordi Castells, Sporting Director of championship promoter RPM, told Autosport.

"But according to the international sporting regulations, if Aitkins wins, or finishes in the top three, he will not go to the podium.

"The Spanish Federation will have to make a decision on this, which will probably be in the next three weeks.

"We can certainly say it isn't a modification that will bring, for example, a second a lap, but it looks like it doesn't conform.

"The team have said the sidepod was like that since they acquired the cars from ISR."


Pos Driver Team Time Gap
1 Jack Aitken RP Motorsport 1m26.978s -
2 Matevos Isaakyan SMP Racing 1m27.175s 0.197s
3 Matthieu Vaxiviere SMP Racing 1m27.611s 0.633s
4 Louis Deletraz Fortec Motorsports 1m27.708s 0.730s
5 Egor Orudzhev Arden Motorsport 1m27.742s 0.764s
6 Yu Kanamaru Teo Martin Motorsport 1m27.862s 0.884s
7 Tom Dillmann AVF 1m27.869s 0.891s
8 Rene Binder Lotus 1m27.967s 0.989s
9 Aurelien Panis Arden Motorsport 1m28.070s 1.092s
10 Beitske Visser Teo Martin Motorsport 1m28.279s 1.301s
11 Vitor Baptista RP Motorsport 1m28.511s 1.533s
12 Pietro Fittipaldi Fortec Motorsports 1m28.630s 1.652s
13 Roy Nissany Lotus 1m28.635s 1.657s
14 Tom Randle Comtec Racing 1m28.636s 1.658s
15 Alfonso Celis AVF 1m28.880s 1.902s
16 Giuseppe Cipriani Durango Racing Team 1m30.309s 3.331s


Renault protege and GP3 race winner Aitken joins Formula V8 3.5

Jerez FV8 3.5: SMP Racing's Matevos Isaakyan claims first victory