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Formula Renault 3.5

The track was completely dry for the weekend’s first qualifying session for the FR 3.5 Series. Yann Cunha’s car was immobilized right at the start bringing out the yellow flags. When it was removed things began in earnest.

Antonio Felix da Costa set the first target time but the Portuguese was immediately pipped by Jules Bianchi. The leader of the Formula Renault 3.5 Series lapped in 1m 31.044secs to take provisional pole.

His team-mate Daniel Abt went off and brought out the red flag with Bianchi topping the time sheets from da Costa, Alexander Rossi, Kevin Korjus, Sam Bird and Robin Frijns.

The drivers took advantage of the neutralization to put on fresh runner and Frijns was the first to knock Bianchi off pole in 1m 30.964s just before Russian Nicolay Martsenko had a huge shunt from which he escaped unhurt.

The final rush for pole began once the track had been cleared with ten minutes to go to the flag. Kevin Magnussen, da Costa and Bianchi relayed one another at the head of the pack. André Negrao slid into a gravel trap hindering the drivers again who were all going pedal to the metal. But Bianchi put everybody in their place with a lap in 1m 29.986secs giving him his fifth pole of the season. It was the quickest-ever lap in Formula Renault 3.5 on the Montmelo circuit. Sam Bird finished fourth and Robin Frijns sixth.

Jules Bianchi: “It’s a good start but there’s a long race in front of me and I know that neither Robin nor Sam will give an inch. There’s no sense in thinking it’s done and dusted; we’ve still got a long way to go.”

Sam Bird: “Yesterday the car wasn’t bad. We made some changes and it didn’t do it much good. I know we’ve got a better package for the race. I’m between Jules and Robin so that should be interesting!”

Robin Frijns: “All the interruptions of the session cost me dearly. I had the car I needed and the pace to go with it.”

Official Renault Sport Press Release.

Posted: 20 October 2012
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