“FR3.5: Nato takes Monaco pole”
DAMS racer Norman Nato took his second pole position in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series at Monaco today.
Nato headed Group B, but only just from ISR man Jazeman Jaafar, while Marco Sørensen (Tech 1) claimed 3rd on the grid.
Carlos Sainz Jr topped the ‘Group A’ qualifying session, but was later penalised two positions for impeding fellow Red Bull junior driver Pierre Gasly.
In the faster ‘Group B’ session, Nato grabbed the top spot by just 0.092s with a late fast tour.
The 21-year-old battled throughout the running with Jaafar and Fortec’s Oliver Rowland; however only Jaafar could push harder as the time ticked down, only to be beaten by Nato’s best of 1:23.209s.
However, Nato came very close to losing it all early on. “At Monaco, speed is necessary, but there is a bit of luck involved. I made it difficult for myself in tapping the Armco barrier on my first run.” Adding later, the Frenchman said: “This pole position is a sigh of relief and I am thrilled. The team did an excellent job after that. 50% of the work is done, but the race will be quite complicated!”
Rowland could do no better than 3rd in the group, as he failed to improve with the leading pair in the final minutes. Zoel Amberg (AVF) took 4th and Will Stevens (Strakka) 5th.
Sainz Jr utterly dominated ‘Group A’. The Spaniard led after the first run and significantly improved that time to 1:23.873s on fresh tyres before the chequered flag.
It came to naught however, as Sainz Jr was given a two-place grid drop for blocking, although he was adamant that he had slowed for Roman Mavlanov’s damaged Zeta Corse machine.
Sergey Sirotkin was the 3rd place driver in ‘Group A’; however the Russian lost time in traffic on his fast lap, while Gasly maintained 4th by the end of the session.
2014 Formula Renault 3.5 Series (Rd 3, Qualifying, Monaco) Pos Driver Team Time 1. Norman Nato DAMS 1m23.209s Group B 2. Jazeman Jaafar ISR 1m23.301s Group B 3. Marco Sorensen Tech 1 1m24.262s Group A 4. Carlos Sainz DAMS 1m23.873s Group A 5. Oliver Rowland Fortec 1m23.666s Group B 6. Sergey Sirotkin Fortec 1m24.675s Group A 7. Zoel Amberg AVF 1m23.702s Group B 8. Pierre Gasly Arden 1m24.828s Group A 9. Will Stevens Strakka 1m23.924s Group B 10. Roberto Merhi Zeta 1m24.925s Group A 11. Pietro Fantin Draco 1m23.944s Group B 12. Meindert van Buuren Pons 1m25.107s Group A 13. Marlon Stockinger Lotus 1m24.328s Group B 14. Roman Mavlanov Zeta 1m25.714s Group A 15. William Buller Arden 1m24.365s Group B 16. Matias Laine Strakka 1m25.834s Group A 17. Oliver Webb Pons 1m24.776s Group B 18. Matthieu Vaxiviere Lotus 1m26.072s Group A 19. Beitske Visser AVF 1m25.469s Group B 20. Luca Ghiotto Draco 1m26.153s Group A 21. Andrea Roda Comtec 1m29.698s Group A