Pineiro beats Bortolotti for pole in Austria
Ramon Pineiro claimed pole position for today's (Saturday) first FIA Formula Two race of the weekend at the Red Bull Ring after putting in a late surge to fend off Mirko Bortolotti and Christopher Zanella.
The top three were covered by 0.212 seconds in the closely fought session which also saw the top 10 covered by a mere second. Romanian Mihai Marinescu qualified fourth, with Alex Brundle's late effort securing him fifth place for today's round 11 which gets underway at 13:45 (local time). Miki Monras starts sixth while Luciano Bacheta on his F2 debut qualified an impressive seventh.
Once again the drivers' were greeted with glorious sunshine at the newly revived 4.3km Austrian track with Marinescu leading the way followed by Zanella and Austro-Italian Bortolotti.
By the halfway stage most of the field were starting to pit for fresh rubber before the session was red flagged after Tobias Hegewald pulled up on the approach to Turn 3.
The session resumed with 15 minutes left to play out with Marinescu once again leading the way before a string of changes which saw both Theobald brothers, returning after missing the last rounds at Brands Hatch, enjoy their time at the top of the timesheets.
With just a few minutes of the 30-minute session remaining, the lap times began to tumble with 21-year-old title leader Bortolotti now on top and on course for his sixth pole of the season until a large charge by Pineiro secured the honours in the last few moments.
Speaking afterwards the 19-year-old Spanish pole-sitter said: "My weekend at Brands Hatch was good and has given me a big boost for the rest of the rounds and here is the proof. In qualifying for the last six races I have been on the front row four times, so pole had to come and it's come here. It's good because the car performs very well and I have very good pace for the race."
Further down the field, Danish driver Mikkel Mac secured an impressive eighth place with Johannes Theobald in ninth and Benjamin Lariche maintaining his strong form from Friday to complete the top 10.
Jack Clarke was unlucky not to improve on his 13th position after he spun early on and subsequently damaging his tires. Meanwhile Plamen Kralev was shown the black flag during that session for exceeding the track limits and will start from the back of the field along with German Hegewald.
Round 11 takes place at 13:45 with full coverage, including live streaming, available on the official F2 website.
Results, Red Bull Ring, Qualifying one:
1. Ramon Pineiro, +1:21.946s
2. Mirko Bortolotti, +0.134s
3. Christopher Zanella, +0.212s
4. Mihai Marinescu, +0.572s
5. Alex Brundle, +0.656s
6. Miki Monras, +0.802s
7. Luciano Bacheta, +0.835s
8. Mikkel Mac, +0.878s
9. Johannes Theobald, +0.925s
10. Benjamin Lariche, +0.977s