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Formula Renault 3.5

For the first time this weekend the Formula Renault 3.5 Series drivers were able to run on a dry track in the second qualifying session at Paul Ricard.

The battle for pole did not really get under way immediately. Jules Bianchi was the first to set a benchmark time. He monopolized first place in the early stages of the session before pitting to put on new tyres. Arthur Pic took advantage of this to bag provisional pole with a lap in 1m 49.861s from Nico Müller, Alexander Rossi, Robin Frijns and Bianchi when all the drivers headed into the pit lane.

Mikhail Aleshin was the first to improve on Pic’s time, and then Pic himself and Antonio Felix da Costa relayed each other in first place. Bianchi went to the top of the time sheets where he stayed until Kevin Magnussen put in a stunning lap in 1m 48.335s. But the Frenchman wasn’t having any and knocked the Dane off pole with a time of 1m 48.103s giving him his fourth pole of the season.

Behind, Sam Bird snatched second spot with Nico Müller was third when Kevin Korjus brought the session to an end when his car stopped out of the circuit.

The driver who lost out in qualifying was championship leader Robin Frijns who could do no better than eighth.

Jules Bianchi: “My main aim this morning was to clinch pole although it doesn’t bring any points. The car’s working well today and that’s good for the race. I have to bring home the bacon and I have to do my own race without thinking about the others. I need to win!”

Sam Bird: “It’s important to be on the front row today as the championship situation is evolving rapidly and I have to get back among the front-runners. I think I could have bagged pole but I made a mistake on my best lap. Following Nico Müller I could see that he has a car that’s easy to drive, so we can improve ours. Jules wants to win and so do Nico and Kevin Magnussen. It’s going to be a tough race.”

Nico Müller: “It was important to have a good qualifying session after our problems yesterday. The car’s pretty good in the dry so we’ve got what it takes to have a good race. Today, I want a podium finish – minimum!”

Official Renault Sport Press Release.

Posted: 30 September 2012
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