Jules Bianchi took pole position for the second Formula Renault 3.5 race at Moscow Raceway on Sunday
The Ferrari junior driver was a constant threat throughout the session, and he finally moved to the top of the order for the first time in the final minute. At that point he deposed former championship leader Sam Bird, and although the Briton improved his time on the next lap, it was still not quite enough to retake top spot.
Bianchi then seemed to remove all doubt by going even faster on his final lap, but the Tech 1 driver was made to sweat a bit by Lotus's Marco Sorensen, who ended his last lap just 0.097 seconds adrift to take second position.
A late improvement from Arthur Pic (DAMS) pushed Bird (ISR) back to fourth, but the Mercedes Formula 1 test driver could at least take some heart from the fact that he outqualified title rival Robin Frijns, who could only manage sixth for Fortec behind Lotus driver Cesar Ramos.
Nico Muller (Draco) and Kevin Korjus (Tech 1) will share the fourth row, ahead of a much-improved Nick Yelloly, who has endured a torrid weekend for Comtec so far. P1's Walter Grubmuller completed the top 10, while 11th-placed Lucas Foresti (DAMS) will drop five positions as a penalty for crashing into Alexander Rossi (Arden) and Kevin Magnussen (Carlin) at the end of race one.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Jules Bianchi Tech 1 1m23.388s 2. Marco Sorensen Lotus 1m23.485s + 0.097s 3. Arthur Pic DAMS 1m23.563s + 0.175s 4. Sam Bird ISR 1m23.677s + 0.289s 5. Cesar Ramos Lotus 1m23.844s + 0.456s 6. Robin Frijns Fortec 1m23.924s + 0.536s 7. Nico Muller Draco 1m24.033s + 0.645s 8. Kevin Korjus Tech 1 1m24.132s + 0.744s 9. Nick Yelloly Comtec 1m24.321s + 0.933s 10. Walter Grubmuller P1 1m24.349s + 0.961s 11. Lucas Foresti DAMS 1m24.353s + 0.965s 12. Alexander Rossi Arden Caterham 1m24.478s + 1.090s 13. Mikhail Aleshin RFR 1m24.522s + 1.134s 14. Kevin Magnussen Carlin 1m24.578s + 1.190s 15. Andre Negrao Draco 1m24.586s + 1.198s 16. Carlos Huertas Fortec 1m24.628s + 1.240s 17. Daniil Move P1 1m24.743s + 1.355s 18. Vittorio Ghirelli Comtec 1m24.863s + 1.475s 19. Zoel Amberg Pons 1m24.894s + 1.506s 20. Anton Nebylitskiy RFR 1m24.939s + 1.551s 21. Antonio Felix da Costa Arden Caterham 1m24.997s + 1.609s 22. Jake Rosenzweig ISR 1m25.090s + 1.702s 23. Will Stevens Carlin 1m25.421s + 2.033s 24. Sergey Sirotkin BVM Target 1m25.514s + 2.126s 25. Yann Cunha Pons 1m25.617s + 2.229s 26. Nikolay Martsenko BVM Target 1m25.680s + 2.292s
The 2015 Formula Renault 3.5 season will be notable for being the last with the French company's backing but also produced a worthy champion in Oliver Rowland. PETER MILLS evaluates this year's crop of drivers
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