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Wickens snatches Race 1 pole at Spa
Carlin Motorsport's Robert Wickens secured pole position for the first race of the weekend at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on Saturday morning, with the Canadian driver posting a time of 2:02.855 in the closing moments of the session to steal the top spot.  Albert Costa also made a late surge to claim second, while Jean Eric Vergne had to settle for third place.

It was an incident packed session.

Despite the calm weather conditions, the Belgian venue played host to some drama in the closing stages of Qualifying 1. Ricciardo went out on new rubber, got caught out at the top of the Raidillon and hit the guardrail. Out came the red flag and Race Control applied the law to the letter cancelling the Australian’s best time. The cars restarted but not for long as the red flag came out again after André Negrao’s (International Draco Racing) accident. 

As the session got back underway for a final time, personal best efforts from Wickens and EPIC Racing’s Costa saw them jump ahead of early pace setters Ricciardo and Vergne. It got worse for F1 hopeful Ricciardo who eventually slipped back to sixth when Nelson Panciatici and Brendon Hartley jumped to fourth and fifth respectively.

Daniil Move was next up in seventh, just over a tenth ahead of Spain’s Sergio Canamasas. Chris van der Drift claimed a promising ninth place as he continues to make progress on his return to motorsport, with Jan Charouz rounding out the top ten.

Championship leader Alexander Rossi could only manage 11th in a disappointing qualifying session for the American.  His Fortec teammate did even worse, so the team is struggling.

The outcome of the battle for pole was decided in the last two laps. Wickens put in a flyer in 2m 02.855s to knock his team-mate off pole, while Albert Costa got up to third and improved to second last time round. After an exciting session the first three were Wickens, Costa and Vergne.

Robert Wickens: “Our car was exceptional and it’s great to have two Carlin drivers in the top three. I was behind Jean-Eric and I took advantage of his slipstream especially in sector three. It’s another pole for me and now I have to turn it into a victory.”

Daniel Ricciardo: “I made a mistake and it’s my fault. I went out on new tyres and I wanted to get past the cars in front of me so as not to be caught up in traffic. I locked up my brakes, end of story. I finished in sixth place. It’s not ideal but it could have been worse.” 


Pos Driver Team Time Behind
1. Robert Wickens Carlin 2m02.855s +0.000s
2. Albert Costa EPIC 2m03.015s +0.160s
3. Jean-Eric Vergne Carlin 2m03.240s +0.385s
4. Nelson Panciatici KMP 2m03.401s +0.546s
5. Brendon Hartley Gravity-Charouz 2m03.520s +0.665s
6. Daniel Ricciardo ISR 2m03.552s +0.697s
7. Daniil Move P1 2m03.656s +0.801s
8. Sergio Canamasas BVM Target 2m03.767s +0.912s
9. Chris van der Drift Mofaz 2m03.787s +0.932s
10. Jan Charouz Gravity-Charouz 2m03.795s +0.940s
11. Alexander Rossi Fortec 2m03.803s +0.948s
12. Daniel Zampieri BVM Target 2m03.847s +0.992s
13. Walter Grubmuller P1 2m03.890s +1.035s
14. Cesar Ramos Fortec 2m03.965s +1.110s
15. Nathanael Berthon ISR 2m04.101s +1.246s
16. Jake Rosenzweig Mofaz 2m04.135s +1.280s
17. Stephane Richelmi Draco 2m04.136s +1.281s
18. Arthur Pic Tech 1 2m04.140s +1.285s
19. Kevin Korjus Tech 1 2m04.168s +1.313s
20. Anton Nebylitskiy KMP 2m04.430s +1.575s
21. Sten Pentus EPIC 2m04.492s +1.637s
22. Oliver Webb Pons 2m04.639s +1.784s
23. Andre Negrao Draco 2m04.739s +1.884s
24. Daniel McKenzie Comtec 2m04.908s +2.053s
25. Jean-Karl Vernay Pons 2m05.015s +2.160s
26. Daniel de Jong Comtec 2m06.235s +3.380s

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