Dean Stoneman storms to Brands Hatch pole
Dean Stoneman converted his dominant practice form into his third pole position of the season at Brands Hatch, the Briton finishing four tenths clear of the rest of the field and breaking the F2 lap record in the process.
|Dean Stoneman celebrates|
Jack Clarke had held provisional pole for much of the session, just 0.001s ahead of Sergey Afanasiev, but Stoneman made his charge as the field stopped for fresh rubber at the halfway stage. He went on to set a blistering 1:15.758s lap time - nearly 1.2 seconds quicker than Andy Soucek's pole time from 2009.
With championship rival Jolyon Palmer starting seventh, Stoneman will be hoping to score maximum points as he bids to overhaul the 26 point advantage Palmer currently enjoys.
Sergey Afanasiev will line up alongside Stoneman on the front row, the Russian also jumping Clarke late on in the session to finish just over four tenths off the ultimate pace.
Clarke held on for third despite a red flag period caused by Plamen Kralev's spin late on in the session. Two minutes still remained, but on cold tires no-one was able to improve their time before the end of the session.
Will Bratt will line up alongside Clarke on the second row, having finished just 0.033s off his fellow Briton. Tom Gladdis meanwhile clinched fifth on his return to Formula Two - his impressive performance also marking his best ever qualifying result in international racing.
Ivan Samarin was another driver enjoying the best qualifying session of his career so far, with the Russian lining up on sixth on the grid. Championship leader Jolyon Palmer qualified seventh meanwhile, meaning all five Britons placed within the top seven.
Philipp Eng failed to repeat his 2009 pole position qualifying performance at Brands Hatch, as the Austrian will start tomorrow's contest from the outside of row four. Fellow series returnees Kazim Vasiliauskas and Nicola De Marco complete the fifth row.
Ricardo Teixeira and Armaan Ebrahim were next on the timesheet, as second position through to 12th were separated by an incredible seven tenths of a second.
Zolder race winner Benjamin Bailly was the notable absentee from the top ten - the Belgian managing only 16th on the grid after recovering from an early trip through the gravel at Graham Hill Bend. The RACB-backed racer will have it all to do around the relatively tight Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit if he is to continue his recent run of points scoring finishes.