British Formula 3 champion Daniel Ricciardo has claimed pole position for his maiden Formula Renault 3.5 race at Motorland Aragon this morning
The Tech 1 Racing man usurped series returnee Mikhail Aleshin at the top of the timesheets in the dying minutes of the half-hour qualifying session.
Reigning Italian F3 champion Daniel Zampieri clinched third spot on his debut for Pons Racing.
In conditions made treacherous by heavy overnight rain, Carlin's Aleshin initially appeared to have a comfortable advantage. The Russian's first qualifying lap was sufficient to put him P1, where he would remain for the first third of the session.
F3 Euro Series graduate Stefano Coletti stole the top spot with 18 minutes to go, only for Aleshin to fight back and reclaim provisional pole on his next flying lap. Comtec's Coletti would eventually settle for sixth, 0.011s adrift of Argentinean Esteban Guerrieri.
The fastest time would improve by five seconds over the duration of the session. Unlike the split qualifying format used in previous years, the revised 2010 regulations require the entire field to be on track in the same session.
Ricciardo secured his pole by displacing Aleshin by just 0.039 seconds. Fighting to regain pole, Aleshin locked up his brakes and ran off-track. With the Carlin machine stranded in a dangerous position, and only three minutes left on the clocks, the session was abandoned.
Aleshin was stripped of his fastest lap for bringing out the red flag, but his next best effort was sufficient for a place alongside Ricciardo on the front row of this afternoon's race.
After three seasons, the Formula Renault 3.5 Series has also dispensed with reversed grids this year. Tomorrow's second race will have another, independent, half-hour qualifying session in the morning.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Daniel Ricciardo Tech 1 2m01.886s 2. Mikhail Aleshin Carlin 2m02.528s +0.642 3. Daniel Zampieri Pons 2m02.633s +0.747 4. Esteban Guerrieri ISR 2m03.025s +1.139 5. Stefano Coletti Comtec 2m03.036s +1.150 6. Jon Lancaster Fortec 2m03.276s +1.390 7. Julian Leal Draco 2m03.673s +1.787 8. Filip Salaquarda ISR 2m03.776s +1.890 9. Federico Leo Pons 2m03.839s +1.953 10. Brendon Hartley Tech 1 2m03.977s +2.091 11. Jake Rosenzweig Carlin 2m04.089s +2.203 12. Walter Grubmuller P1t 2m04.133s +2.247 13. Nelson Panciatici Junior 2m04.347s +2.461 14. Greg Mansell Comtec 2m04.403s +2.517 15. Keisuke Kunimoto Epsilon 2m04.461s +2.575 16. Daniil Move Junior Lotus 2m04.897s +3.011 17. Sten Pentus Fortec 2m05.498s +3.612 18. Bruno Mendez Interwetten 2m05.564s +3.678 19. Jan Charouz P1 2m05.728s +3.842 20. Nathanael Berthon Draco 2m05.878s +3.992 21. Albert Costa Epsilon 2m06.158s +4.272 22. Victor Garcia KMP 2m06.529s +4.643 23. Anton Nebylitskiy KMP 2m07.277s +5.391 24. Sergio Canamasas Interwetten 2m08.444s +6.558
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