“FR3.5: Sainz Jr on pole for Monza opener”


Carlos Sainz Jr took the first pole position of the Formula Renault 3.5 Series season at Monza this morning.

Driving for DAMS, the Spaniard made the best of his second run in the session to pull well of the chasing pack, setting an overall best of 1:33.235 very early into his stint.

Following the session, Sainz Jr commented: “We managed to find the limit very early with the first set and were the only ones to go into the 1’33s. As the others came into their limit, I found that had already had mine.”

Happier in his new confines, it is apparent that the 19-year-old has been able to garner much from the DAMS entry. “The key is to have a set up in the car that gives you confidence to go on the limit straight away and thanks to this, I managed to set a good benchmark and from this I could work on my braking references and high speed references.”

Sainz was already ahead after the first stint, where he registered a best of 1:33.827 – much quicker than next man Marlon Stockinger (Lotus); however he refused to writ any rivals. “The field is only (covered by) 1.4s, so even though we are missing a few cars, it doesn’t change the level of the championship.”

Arden’s Will Buller came closest to deposing Sainz Jr; however the Northern Irishman’s best fell just over one-tenth short of target. Luca Ghiotto and Will Stevens assumed the second row of the grid, with both setting their times late on in. Roberto Merhi’s FR 3.5 début went reasonably well, when he took 5th overall ahead of Stockinger – the latter of whom suffered a brief off at Lesmo’s during a quick run.

Unfortunately for Beitske Visser, the session ended early, when her AVF machine ground to a halt at the end of the pitlane with a mechanical failure after she had only set a single timed run. The German racer will now start from last position.

The session was red flagged 43 seconds from the end when Zoel Amberg spun and stalled his AVF machine at the Roggia chicane, leaving it in an precarious position for the active marshals. Amberg had his best time deleted as a penalty and will now start from 14th position.

Pos  Driver               Team     Time       Gap
 1.  Carlos Sainz Jr      DAMS     1m33.235s
 2.  Will Buller          Arden    1m33.359s  +0.124s
 3.  Luca Ghiotto         Draco    1m33.451s  +0.216s
 4.  Will Stevens         Strakka  1m33.549s  +0.314s
 5.  Roberto Merhi        Zeta     1m33.653s  +0.418s
 6.  Marlon Stockinger    Lotus    1m33.692s  +0.457s
 7.  Nikolay Martsenko    Comtec   1m33.708s  +0.473s
 8.  Pierre Gasly         Arden    1m33.857s  +0.622s
 9.  Jazeman Jaafar       ISR      1m33.863s  +0.628s
10.  Matthieu Vaxiviere   Lotus    1m33.920s  +0.685s
11.  Roman Mavlanov       Zeta     1m33.935s  +0.700s
12.  Marco Sorensen       Tech 1   1m34.110s  +0.875s
13.  Matias Laine         Strakka  1m34.132s  +0.897s
14.  Zoel Amberg          AVF      1m34.178s  +0.943s
15.  Pietro Fantin        Draco    1m34.252s  +1.017s
16.  Oliver Rowland       Fortec   1m34.274s  +1.039s
17.  Norman Nato          DAMS     1m34.354s  +1.119s
18.  Sergey Sirotkin      Fortec   1m34.414s  +1.179s
19.  Oliver Webb          Pons     1m34.460s  +1.225s
20.  Meindert van Buuren  Pons     1m34.650s  +1.415s
21.  Beitske Visser       AVF      1m35.383s  +2.148s

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