F3000 qualifying session 1

A committed performance from Nordic Racing's Justin Wilson secured the provisional pole for tomorrow's second round of the F3000 championship, supporting the British Grand Prix

F3000 qualifying session 1

Darren Manning made the early running in the saturated qualifying session on Friday afternoon, but as the track began to dry, a bevy of drivers went quicker with the improving conditions, rendering the end times something of a lottery.

Justin Wilson bounced back from his disappointing San Marino qualifying with a storming performance in his home event.

The former Formula Palmer Audi champion was the first driver to dip below the 2-minute mark.

Then, as the times began to tumble due to a drying track, he dug deep again and went second.

Manning was also finding his form after the anguish of San Marino by going third at the half way stage.

The session was split, due to a shunt in the early stages, and was marked by a series of spins. Jaime Melo Jr, a star of the first round despite being an F3000 rookie, put his Lola in the gravel twice - once in each part of the divided session.

Andre Couto of Gauloises Jr. was another star of the session, the resident of Macau featuring in the top three in the wet part of the session, but slipping to 13th as the track dried.

But it was Williams F1 test driver Bruno Junqueira who popped up at the top of the times late in the session. It looked like the pre season title favourite would keep provisional pole, but Wilson had a whole 0.75s left in his pocket - and then went faster still.

With two minutes to go, it was Wilson from Junqueira and Chritijan Albers - Manning had dropped to 12th as the times began to fall. A mammoth effort won him second, snatching the place from European Aviation's Mark Webber.

The nail biting nature of the session continued to the end, when all waited to see if Wilson could beat his time with his last remaining lap. He did, with 1m57.953, pulling the session out of reach of the flying Enrique Bernoldi who was the last driver to complete a lap.

"There was such a lack of grip everywhere you could get wheelspin in 4th gear," said Wilson.

"It was really slippery," he confirmed.

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