A large crowd poured into Silverstone this Sunday morning for the free aero configuration race in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series. After a couple of warm-up laps Albert Costa (Epic Racing) set a benchmark time in 1m 47.528s just as Sergio Canamasas (BVM Target) brought out the yellow flag when he beached his car in a gravel trap.
The drivers pitted to put on new tires. Costa was still in front from César Ramos (Fortec Motorsport), Kevin Korjus (Tech 1 Racing), Alexander Rossi (Fortec) and Walter Grubmüller (P1 Motorsport). Only Robert Wickens (Carlin) hadn’t put in a flying lap. The Canadian had been caught up in the traffic at the entrance to the circuit and began his session 15 minutes after his rivals! He did a couple of exploratory laps on worn tires and then pitted to shod new rubber.
César Ramos and Oliver Webb (Pons Racing) went to the front briefly and then Wickens, Ramos, Daniel Ricciardo and Alexander Rossi all swapped places at the top of the time sheets. Wickens lapped in 1m 45.616s to grab pole, and drove home his advantage on his final flyer in 1m 45.379s.
Jean-Eric Vergne took second spot giving Carlin a 100% front row followed by the 2 IRS driver, Nathanael Berthon and Daniel Ricciardo, on row 2.
Robert Wickens: “I didn’t expect so much traffic on the roads this morning. I was on time, but it took me an hour to do the final kilometers to the circuit. So I began practice with a strange feeling. It all turned out okay as Carlin again gave me a perfect car. All the ingredients are present for another good race!”
Jean-Eric Vergne: “There’s no point for pole so I’m happy with second place. I lost time again in the traffic, but it’s better starting from the first row than the pits!”
Nathanael Berthon: “It’s great to be on the second row and even better to be in front of my team-mate, Daniel Ricciardo who’s a reference! My start to the season didn’t live up to my expectations. I did a lot of fitness training and psychological preparation during the holidays. Yesterday’s result and my qualifying performance are the first fruits. Today, I need a podium finish.”
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