Jake Rosenzweig mastered a wet Spa-Francorchamps in Formula Renault 3.5 qualifying this morning, to take his first pole position since graduating to car racing in 2007
The result is Carlin's second pole of the weekend, following team-mate Mikhail Aleshin's success on Saturday. Italian Formula 3 champion Daniel Zampieri will join Rosenzweig on the front row of this afternoon's race, but the Pons driver trailed the American by some 1.3s.
"The car was very good, I've always liked the wet and I enjoyed racing at Spa in my British Formula 3 meeting last year," said Rosenzweig. "I was varying and mixing my lines, but on every lap I came across someone ahead of me, so there was much more time to come.
"I think this must be my first pole position since karting, but I have always been running in new categories. I know I can do the job in the rain, now I just need to sort things out in the dry."
Daniel Ricciardo made amends for his accident in yesterday's qualifying session to take third place on today's grid. Penalised for misdemeanours in Saturday's race one, Fortec Motorsport's Jon Lancaster and KMP Racing's Anton Nebylitskiy ended the morning in fourth and fifth positions on the timesheets. Reigning Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup champion Albert Costa completed the top six.
Following yesterday's multiple qualifying stoppages, the majority of the 24-car field took to the track from the outset of the half-hour session. Red Bull Junior driver Brendon Hartley immediately provided an indication of the treacherous conditions by running across the grass at the Pif-Paf chicane, and later Mikhail Aleshin narrowly avoided a colossal accident when he spun through the Eau Rouge sweep whilst on a quick lap.
Fortec drivers Sten Pentus and Lancaster set the initial pace, before Rosenzweig showed his hand and moved to the front eleven minutes into the session, setting a time of 2m32.908s.
With it raining hard over the pitlane, but less so on other parts of the track, the lap times swiftly improved. Third in race one, Stefano Coletti found an improvement of eight tenths over Rosenzweig's early benchmark. Nebylitskiy and Zampieri also had turns at the top, before Rosenzweig re-established himself with an effort of 2m29.079s.
A heavy crash by Draco's Colombian driver Julian Leal on the approach to the La Source hairpin brought out the red flags shortly after the halfway mark and necessitated a lengthy clear up. On the restart, Rosenzweig improved once more, setting his pole lap of 2m28s.117s, but the session was red flagged again, for timing purposes, in order to keep the meeting on schedule.
In a final piece of drama, the stoppage caught Coletti unawares, and in limited visibility the surprised Monegasque ran into the back of Leal's team-mate, a slowing Nathanael Berthon, breaking his suspension.
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