Following mixed conditions in free practice yesterday, conditions were damp as the second qualifying session of the season got underway in Monza this morning. The track soon began to dry however, as the F3 cars began the fight for pole position.
Current championship leader Harvey was quickest on his first flying lap, until several other drivers lowered the benchmark. Jaafar was also on the pace and was third quickest five minutes into the session.
At the half way point the Carlin men were closely matched, with Sainz third, Jaafar fourth, Harvey fifth, Tincknell sixth and Fantin seventh. Sainz continued to push and set the quickest middle sector of all to improve to second, only 0.005 seconds behind provisional pole man Fortec’s Pipo Derani.
With 10 minutes to go, all five Carlin drivers were back out on fresh rubber for a second assault on pole. With five minutes to go, Sainz was third but was still improving. The Spanish racer took provisional pole with only a few minutes to go, although was soon relegated to second as Felix Serralles went quicker. Sainz responded with just over one minute to go with a 1.46.575, a time that would remain unbeaten in the final seconds.
“I’m really happy to secure pole at such a special circuit," said Sainz. “We spent quite a long time last night thinking about changes to our set-up which have taken us in the right direction so a great job by the team. Qualifying went smoothly for us; it was a little damp at the beginning but as it dried out the car got better and better.
“For sure the Fortec cars are fast on the straights so it will be a tough race, but we are very quick in the high speed corners. It is a question of getting the right balance on the car and that is something we will work on ahead of the first race."