Jean-Eric Vergne - Photo Credit: Renault

Jean-Eric Vergne - Photo Credit: Renault

Wet weather may have hit Paul Ricard on Sunday morning but the Jean-Eric Vergne’s desperate fight to keep the Formula Renault 3.5 championship alive continued as he took his second pole position of the weekend.

The Frenchman may have had several off track excursions and spins during the session but he was not to be denied on home soil and took pole on his final run by 0.814 seconds from Alexander Rossi.

Daniel Ricciardo topped the timesheets at the halfway point of the session with a time of 2m14.399 seconds ahead of Rossi, Robert Wickens, Albert Costa and Daniil Move as Vergne struggled on the damp track.

However, he was not to be denied at Le Castellet wet or dry and after composing himself following some off-track moments, rose to the top of the standings by beating his Red Bull backed compatriot by three tenths of a second.

With just a few minutes remaining on a drying track, Rossi demoted the Frenchman to second to take provisional pole but Vergne stole the show with an astounding lap of 2m13.142 seconds, almost a second faster than the Fortec driver.

Vergne said: “It was like a skating rink out there. I spun twice. With these tyres you've got one or two good laps; after that it's difficult to improve. So you can't screw up. I'd prefer a dry track this afternoon as in the rain it can all go wrong very quickly!”

Rossi will start alongside Vergne for this afternoon’s race and will be keen to banish the memories of Yesterday’s race, where he was classified 17th after part of Wickens’ front wing became lodged in his right side pod.

Rossi said: “We were quick in the dry and we're also on the pace in the wet. Yesterday, my race was ruined by a piece of another car which got stuck under the flat bottom. Today, I have to win!”

In his final World Series by Renault race of thes eason, Ricciardo will line up third alongside the impressive American Jake Rosenzweig, who was fourth for Mofaz Yesterday.

In only his second Formula Renault 3.5 meeting since his switch from Gp3, Nick Yelloly qualified a very creditable fifth.

His team mate Oliver Webb was not to enjoy similar success, though.

The Brit had provisionally set the second quickest time of the session but was stripped of his fastest run because he had exceeded the limits of the track to gain an advantage.

The decision relegated the Pons Racing driver to 15th.

Frenchman Nelson Panciatici will start sixth alongside Yelloly while championship leader Wickens could qualify only seventh.

Daniel De Jong, who recently ran in Formula Renault 2.0, will line up in eighth on his début weekend in the category.

 

Pos Driver Team Time Gap
 1.  Jean-Eric Vergne   Carlin           2m13.142s
 2.  Alexander Rossi    Fortec           2m13.956s  + 0.814s
 3.  Daniel Ricciardo   ISR              2m13.981s  + 0.839s
 4.  Jake Rosenzweig    Mofaz            2m14.739s  + 1.597s
 5.  Nick Yelloly       Pons             2m14.750s  + 1.608s
 6.  Nelson Panciatici  KMP              2m14.752s  + 1.610s
 7.  Robert Wickens     Carlin           2m14.889s  + 1.747s
 8.  Daniel de Jong     Comtec           2m14.989s  + 1.847s
 9.  Albert Costa       Epic             2m15.005s  + 1.863s
10.  Daniil Move        P1               2m15.062s  + 1.920s
11.  Brendon Hartley    Gravity-Charouz  2m15.190s  + 2.048s
12.  Daniel Zampieri    BVM Target       2m15.239s  + 2.097s
13.  Sergio Canamasas   BVM Target       2m15.579s  + 2.437s
14.  Anton Nebylitskiy  KMP              2m15.641s  + 2.499s
15.  Oliver Webb        Pons             2m15.647s  + 2.505s
16.  Stephane Richelmi  Draco            2m15.721s  + 2.579s
17.  Kevin Korjus       Tech 1           2m15.811s  + 2.669s
18.  Andre Negrao       Draco            2m15.867s  + 2.725s
19.  Sten Pentus        Epic             2m15.925s  + 2.783s
20.  Daniel McKenzie    Comtec           2m15.950s  + 2.808s
21.  Cesar Ramos        Fortec           2m16.019s  + 2.877s
22.  Fairuz Fauzy       Mofaz            2m16.147s  + 3.005s
23.  Walter Grubmuller  P1               2m16.255s  + 3.113s
24.  Arthur Pic         Tech 1           2m16.323s  + 3.181s
25.  Jan Charouz        Gravity-Charouz  2m16.513s  + 3.371s
26.  Nathanael Berthon  ISR              2m17.006s  + 3.864s