Qualifying: Kovalainen does the double

Gabord Competicion's Heikki Kovalainen took his first ever World Series by Nissan pole position today at the EuroSpeedway, Lausitz and duly followed it up with his second in a thrilling qualifying session for race two

Qualifying: Kovalainen does the double

Kovalainen, who set the pace in free practice, continued his strong form to out-pace his rivals by 0.3s to claim the top spot for race one. However, things were much closer for race two, with less than 0.1s covering the top four, but once again it was the Finn who came out on top.

"This has been a very good day," said the Finn. "This is the maximum of what we were hoping to achieve. We have a good car and I hope we can get the maximum result tomorrow."

Championship leader, and Gabord team-mate, Franck Montagny, lines up second for the first race, and fourth for the second. The Renault Formula 1 test driver struggled to find a good balance on his car in practice, so was pleased with his result.

"I'm quite happy to start both races on the front two rows after spending much of practice in fifth and sixth," he said. "We have some new tyres left for tomorrow, which is very important here, so we should be in good shape for the races."

Racing Engineering's Stephane Sarrazin has been on the pace all weekend, although the Frenchman felt a set-up change compromised his performance in the first qualifying session, which left him back in third. However, things got even worse for former F1 driver in the second session when he damaged his front wing on a kerb and finished up in 10th.

He said: "The car was not as good as in practice for qualifying. And second qualifying was spoilt with the problem with the wing. At least we had a good car for the race."

Sarrazin's team-mate Bas Leinders has also been strong around the infield track at the EuroSpeedway, and after taking fourth on the grid for race one, improved for race two, and will start from third.

"For sure it's a little disappointing to be so close to the pole time but to start from third," he said. "But I am very happy with the car and we should have a good race."

Indian Narain Karthikeyan struggled in the early part of the weekend, and was just seventh fastest in race one qualifying. To help him work out what he was doing wrong he put spotters around the EuroSpeedway circuit. The advice paid off and he will start on the front row for race two.

"At first the circuit was not good for me," said the Carlin Motorsport driver. "I was making a lot of mistakes. I have now sussed the track out and managed to get a good lap in."

KTR's Felix Porteiro did a solid job to end fifth and seventh in the two sessions, while Zele Racing's Norbert Siedler made a dramatic improvement after being a lowly 15th for race one to be sixth fastest in the second session. Jean Christophe Ravier also made big gains, improving from 11th fastest in session one to fifth in session two. Williams F1 tester Marc Gene had a solid day, taking two top 10 starting slots - ninth and eighth.

Heikki Kovalainen Gabord Competicion 1m31.948s
Franck Montagny Gabord Competicion 1m32.257s
Stephane Sarrazin Racing Engineering 1m32.416s
Bas Leinders Racing Engineering 1m32.428s
Felix Porteiro KTR 1m32.515s
Ander Vilarino Epsilon Euskadi 1m32.591s
Narain Karthikeyan Tata Team Carlin 1m32.690s
Paul Edwards KTR 1m33.130s
Marc Gene Adrian Campos Motorsport 1m33.167s
Bruce Jouanny Carlin Motorsport 1m33.260s

Heikki Kovalainen Gabord Competicion 1m32.007s
Narain Karthikeyan Tata Team Carlin 1m32.055s
Bas Leinders Racing Engineering 1m32.063s
Franck Montagny Gabord Competicion 1m32.097s
Jean Christophe Ravier Epsilon Euskadi 1m32.625s
Norbert Seidler Superfund Zele Racing 1m32.705s
Felix Porteiro KTR 1m32.718s
Marc Gene Adrian Campos Motorsport 1m32.733s
Ander Vilarino Epsilon Euskadi 1m32.785s
Stephane Sarrazin Racing Engineering 1m33.072s

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