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F3 Masters
Defending titlist Hülkenberg on pole
At the 4.011 kilometers long circuit of Zolder in Belgium, Nico Hülkenberg (ART Grand Prix, 1:24.280 min) claimed pole position for the RTL GP Masters of Formula 3. The German already succeeded in winning Europe’s most important Formula 3 race last year and his goal is now to defend his title.

Second place on the grid went to Frenchman Jules Bianchi (ART Grand Prix, 1:24.550 min) from Dutchman Renger van der Zande (Prema Powerteam, 1:24.640 min), Koudai Tsukakoshi (Manor Motorsport, 1:24.813 min) from Japan and Stefano Coletti (Prema Powerteam, 1:24.869 min). Thus, the top five places were all locked out by drivers from the Formula 3 Euro Series. In the top twelve, there are even ten drivers from the Formula 3 Euro Series.

With a few minutes remaining, qualifying was briefly interrupted after Spaniard Dani Clos (Prema Powerteam, 1:26.157 min) had come off the track. After the re-start, the drivers only had two laps left to improve their lap times. Nico Hülkenberg, the test driver of the Williams Formula 1 team, only did so as the checkered flag was being waved.

For Nico Hülkenberg’s team ART Grand Prix, it is already the fifth fastest qualifying time in a row at the Masters of Formula 3. Before the German, Romain Grosjean (2007), Giedo van der Garde (2006), Lewis Hamilton (2005) and Alexandre Prémat (2004) started from the best possible grid position.

Nico Hülkenberg (ART Grand Prix): “Qualifying wasn’t easy. After the red flag, I knew that I couldn’t drive many laps anymore. On my fastest lap, I also had to overtake Michael Devaney. But I remained calm and it was enough. In the end, it was a matter of nerves.”

Jules Bianchi (ART Grand Prix): “I am very happy, being second fastest in qualifying on my very first weekend of racing here at Zolder. I try to learn something in every race. At the moment, I seem to be doing well and therefore, it is going quite well for me.”

Renger van der Zande (Prema Powerteam): “I am very happy with third place on the grid at the Masters of Formula 3. There are only two cars ahead of me and I want to beat them tomorrow, too. I am feeling really well.“

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