Wirdheim takes pole for season-opener

Arden International's Bjorn Wirdheim is on pole position for tomorrow's opening round of the FIA Formula 3000 Championship at Imola

Wirdheim takes pole for season-opener

The Swede, back for his second season in the category, lapped Imola fastest of all in 1m38.153s to live up to his pre-season ranking as one of the favourites to woin the title. The Arden team's strong form was emphasised by his American team-mate Townsend Bell being fifth fastest.

The other driver expected to set the pace at Imola, third-year F3000 driver Giorgio Pantano, ended up a disappointing seventh, lapping his Durango entry in 1m39.403s, fully 1.250s away from Wirdheim's best.

Patrick Friesacher showed an upturn of form to qualify on the outside of the front row, lapping his Red Bull Junior entry in 1m38.338s, with his team-mate Vitantonio Liuzzi and Ricardo Sperafico (Coloni Motorsport) rounding out the front two rows with best laps of 1m38.811s and 1m38.919s.

The two British drivers in the race, Gary Paffett with Brand Motorsports and last-minute signing Robbie Kerr having his first ever run in an F3000 car for Den Bla Avis, ended up 14th and 18th in the 20-car field, lapping in 1m40.174s and 1m40.897s respectively.

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