Jim Pla (FR) secured an excellent starting position for what he hopes will be a successful Formula BMW World Final campaign. In single-lap qualifying at Mexico City's "Aut¢dromo Hermanos Rodríguez", the DAMS Team driver set a fastest lap time of 1:35.807 minutes, thus relegating the two Eurointernational drivers, Alexander Rossi (US) and Daniel Juncadella (ES), to second and third. Local hero Esteban Gutiérrez (MX) took fourth for Josef Kaufmann Racing.
"I have to admit I didn't expect to be on pole," said 16-year-old Pla after the single- lap contest. "On my best lap I didn't make a mistake so the time was there and I am very happy. Tomorrow I hope for good races and maybe to win the Formula BMW World Final. I shall be careful in the heats but also keep an eye on the opposition. In any case it will be really exciting."
Pla is on pole position for the first two intermediate heats on Saturday, followed by the other seven competitors in today's Super Pole contest. The remaining grid positions for the first pair of heats is determined by the result of the qualifying session, which was held before the single-lap shoot-out and saw Juncadella finishing first in front of Pla and Rossi. The line-up for the Heat 3 grid on Sunday will be the results of Heat 1. Once the heats have been run, an overall points standing will determine the grid for the Formula BMW World Final.
Four exciting races await the 21 competitors, before the successor to Philipp Eng (AT), who drove a BMW Sauber F1 Team car on Thursday in recognition of last year's victory, will be found. Rossi has set his sights on this ambitious goal. The Formula BMW Americas' winner said: "First place would have been great of course. But the most important thing was to be in the top-5. From there you are in a promising position to finish at the front in the races. And then it's all or nothing on Sunday. I'm really confident that we are well-prepared for the races."
Juncadella was also satisfied, although he had his eyes on the top spot in the single- lap contest after claiming provisional pole in qualifying. "If you are first in qualifying, you want to stay there," said the fourth-placed driver from this year's Formula BMW Europe. "But it wasn't to be. Four races lie in front of us, before we know the new champion. Anything can happen. I definitely want to win on Sunday."
"The single-lap qualifying was very interesting," added Gutiérrez who won the Formula BMW Europe title. "All in all, P4 is okay. I'm sure we will see plenty of overtaking maneuvers in the heats and in the final race. I will give my all to move up into the lead in front of my home fans."
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