Epic Racing‘s Albert Costa took his first pole position in front of his home crowd in Barcelona in the final Formula Renault 3.5 race of the season.
The 2009 Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup champion, who has suffered budget problems for the past three seasons, took his maiden pole with a time of 1:32.343s to head Carlin‘s Robert Wickens by 0.256s to reverse yesterday’s front row order.
For Costa, who is still targeting third in the championship, victory is the only thing he has in mind.
He said: “I haven't got a budget for next season so today may be my last race. I'm going to give my all; I've got nothing to lose; I need a good result.”
Unlike Yesterday, the qualifying session passed without interruption and that suited the Carlin team, with both drivers gunning for the title.
Wickens, who just needs to finish second to claim the Formula Renault 3.5 title, joins Costa on the front row and will be hoping for s trouble-free afternoon in Catalunya.
The Canadian said: “It was a good session overall, but I think I might have under drove the car a little bit. I was quite surprised by the level of grip in the higher downforce set-up and I don't think I made the most of it. I think we still have a good car though and I feel confident for the race.”
Wickens’ title rival and team mate Jean–Eric Vergne was left frustrated with fifth on the grid.
The Frenchman, who superbly finished second yesterday, had been running last with just a few minutes remaining despite setting the early pace.
Moreover, having propelled himself up to fifth, Vergne produced purple first and second sector times on his final run before being held up by Jan Charouz with a few corners to go.
Vergne said: “I still wasn't completely comfortable with the car this morning, but there was definitely the potential to be higher up than fifth. On my last lap I went purple in the first two sectors but then I hit traffic in the final sector and wasn't able to complete the lap. I'm going out to win the race this afternoon. This is my only goal.”
It was Anton Nebylitskiy who took a surprise third for KMP, with Nick Yelloly again showing his speed in Catalunya with the fourth best time.
There was yet more disappointment for Yelloly’s fellow countryman and teammate Oliver Webb, though.
He ran strongly throughout the session and, much like Paul Ricard, was running second with only a couple of minutes to go but dropped down the order to 17th as he suffered a technical problem.
Speaking on his Twitter account, he said: “Can’t believe my luck (at) the end of this season. P1 with three minutes to go and the electronics fail in my car and I had to pit, can’t believe it.”
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Albert Costa Epic 1m32.343s 2. Robert Wickens Carlin 1m32.599s + 0.256s 3. Anton Nebylitskiy KMP 1m32.899s + 0.556s 4. Nick Yelloly Pons 1m32.951s + 0.608s 5. Jean-Eric Vergne Carlin 1m33.096s + 0.753s 6. Daniel Zampieri BVM Target 1m33.212s + 0.869s 7. Alexander Rossi Fortec 1m33.243s + 0.900s 8. Nathanael Berthon ISR 1m33.296s + 0.953s 9. Stephane Richelmi Draco 1m33.390s + 1.047s 10. Sergio Canamasas BVM Target 1m33.403s + 1.060s 11. Daniel de Jong Comtec 1m33.460s + 1.117s 12. Kevin Korjus Tech 1 1m33.462s + 1.119s 13. Brendon Hartley Gravity-Charouz 1m33.482s + 1.139s 14. Walter Grubmuller P1 1m33.507s + 1.164s 15. Daniil Move P1 1m33.563s + 1.220s 16. Fairuz Fauzy Mofaz 1m33.632s + 1.289s 17. Oliver Webb Pons 1m33.661s + 1.318s 18. Nelson Panciatici KMP 1m33.740s + 1.397s 19. Cesar Ramos Fortec 1m33.784s + 1.441s 20. Adrien Tambay Draco 1m33.803s + 1.460s 21. Lewis Williamson ISR 1m33.818s + 1.475s 22. Jake Rosenzweig Mofaz 1m33.835s + 1.492s 23. Arthur Pic Tech 1 1m33.936s + 1.593s 24. Jan Charouz Gravity-Charouz 1m33.943s + 1.600s 25. Sten Pentus Epic 1m34.097s + 1.754s 26. Daniel McKenzie Comtec 1m34.351s + 2.008s