Paul Ricard Formula V8 3.5: SMP's Matthieu Vaxiviere on home pole

SMP Racing's Matthieu Vaxiviere claimed his first Formula V8 3.5 pole position of 2016 on home ground at Paul Ricard on Saturday

Back in single-seaters after driving a Ferrari in last week's Le Mans 24 Hours-supporting GT3 Cup round, the Frenchman was in control for much of the half-hour session.

Vaxiviere headed the timing screens at the conclusion of the first tyre run, thanks to a time of 1m49.604s, before setting his pole lap of 1m49.087s with a minute and a half remaining.

SMP Racing boss Amato Ferrari has a large team presence at Ricard, as his AF Corse operation is also in action over the weekend in the Blancpain GT series.

Improving Charouz-run Lotus driver Roy Nissany repeated his Spa qualifying result by achieving a second front-row starting position for the Saturday afternoon race.

The Israeli finished 0.170 seconds behind Vaxiviere, after fleetingly holding provisional pole for less than a minute as qualifying neared its climax.

Friday practice pacesetter Egor Orudzhev featured towards the top of the classification for much of the session.

The Arden driver ended the morning in third for Arden, ahead of Nissany's Lotus team-mate Rene Binder.

After a fortnight ensconced in the Renault Formula 1 team headquarters in Enstone on a fitness programme, Renault Sport Academy driver Louis Deletraz took fifth for Fortec, ahead of French pair Aurelien Panis and championship leader Tom Dillmann.

AVF Formula's Dillmann languished in 11th for much of qualifying before finding an improvement on his penultimate run and salvaging seventh.

Surprisingly, the experienced Frenchman stated that he had only raced on the short version of Ricard before, having competed in a Porsche race that missed the circuit's first sector in 2014.

Series newcomer Artur Janosz, who competes in GP3 for Trident, took 13th on his debut for RP Motorsport.

Janosz fills the seat that has previously been occupied by Johnny Cecotto Jr this season.


Pos Driver Team Time Gap
1 Matthieu Vaxiviere SMP Racing 1m49.087s -
2 Roy Nissany Lotus 1m49.257s 0.170s
3 Egor Orudzhev Arden Motorsport 1m49.326s 0.239s
4 Rene Binder Lotus 1m49.356s 0.269s
5 Louis Deletraz Fortec Motorsports 1m49.610s 0.523s
6 Aurelien Panis Arden Motorsport 1m49.944s 0.857s
7 Tom Dillmann AVF 1m50.004s 0.917s
8 Yu Kanamaru Teo Martin Motorsport 1m50.080s 0.993s
9 Vitor Baptista RP Motorsport 1m50.145s 1.058s
10 Beitske Visser Teo Martin Motorsport 1m50.176s 1.089s
11 Alfonso Celis AVF 1m50.234s 1.147s
12 Matevos Isaakyan SMP Racing 1m50.287s 1.200s
13 Pietro Fittipaldi Fortec Motorsports 1m50.290s 1.203s
14 Artur Janosz RP Motorsport 1m51.118s 2.031s
15 Giuseppe Cipriani Durango Racing Team 1m54.670s 5.583s


Paul Ricard Formula V8 3.5: Egor Orudzhev leads Friday sessions

Paul Ricard Formula V8 3.5: Orudzhev denies Nissany in thriller