Miki Monras clinches maiden pole position on F2 debut weekend
Series newcomer Miki Monras secured his maiden pole position in qualifying for round two of the FIA Formula Two Championship at Silverstone today (Sunday).
In only his first F2 race weekend, Monras edged out race one winner Mirko Bortolotti to set a fastest lap of 1:49.934 - becoming the only driver to dip below the 1m 50s barrier.
An early effort by Bortolotti was sufficient to secure a front row start, whilst Britons Alex Brundle and Will Bratt complete row two of the grid.
Drivers were greeted with a bright, sunny Silverstone circuit for the start of the 30-minute second qualifying session in which competitors can use their overboost facility.
Briton Brundle was the first of the early pace-setters with the 20-year-old pushing hard, especially through Becketts causing his JPH1B Formula Two car to slide out of shape.
It was then the turn of Italian Bortolotti to head the timing screens and he became the first driver to go into the 1min 50s, after electing to sit out the early part of the session to save his tires.
Spaniard Monras, still recovering from shoulder surgery last December, then hooked up a perfect lap using overboost to go below the 1min 50s barrier, surpassing Bortolotti for P1 spot for today's second race - which will be available to watch live on the Formula Two website - to secure his first F2 pole position.
Speaking after clinching his maiden pole, Monras said: "At the beginning we decided to go with old tires just to get a feeling of the car and warm up a bit, but also because I didn't know how it was going to be with my shoulder - which finally was okay. When we put the new tires on we had to be focused to use the boost on the correct lap because it was the first time I have done qualifying like this. It's difficult to manage it - it seems easy but it's not."
Brundle, keen to make up for a disappointing opening race after a slow puncture caused him to drop down the order, was able to secure third place on the grid despite some late challenges from fellow Brit Will Bratt, 19-year-old Ramon Pineiro and German Tobias Hegewald.
Jack Clarke continued to fly the flag for the British drivers qualifying in seventh, while F2 newcomer 21-year-old Christopher Zanella continued to impress by qualifying in the top 10. Armaan Ebrahim also performed well to clinch eighth spot for the 21-lap race, which begins at 2.40pm (local time).
2011 FIA Formula Two Championship - qualifying two - results:
1. Miki Monras, 1:49.934s
2. Mirko Bortolotti, 1:50.137s
3. Alex Brundle, 1:50.290s
4. Will Bratt, 1:50.512s
5. Ramon Pineiro, 1:50.810s
6. Tobias Hegewald, 1:50.836s
7. Jack Clarke, 1:50.876s
8. Armaan Ebrahim, 1:50.902s
9. Mihai Marinescu, 1:51.026s
10. Christopher Zanella, 1:51.147s