Bird followed up his 2011 podium in GP2 with FR 3.5 pole in 2012 (Photo Credit: Jean Michel le Meur/DPPI)

Bird followed up his 2011 podium in GP2 with FR 3.5 pole in 2012 (Photo Credit: Jean Michel le Meur/DPPI)

Sam Bird took his second consecutive pole position in Monaco and his first in Formula Renault 3.5.

The Briton, who started from the front in GP2 last season, stormed to pole position running in the first group of drivers in the split qualifying session.

Although times were expected to be slower in the first session due to track conditions, Bird claimed an excellent pole with a time of 1m 22.163 secs.

Bird fought with former GP2 rival Jules Bianchi for much for the Group A session but it was the ISR driver who came out on top, despite crashing at Sainte Devote on his final run.

He said: “I'm very pleased to be back on pole here in Monaco.

“The session was a little challenging from a communication point of view because the team had no live timing trackside, so while they could tell me on the radio that I was quickest, I had no idea by what margin.

“For all I knew, it might have been by a thousandth of a second. Had I known that the margin to p2 was a lot more, I might not have tried to push the envelope to that extent on the final lap but there you go. That's history.

“We're on pole and that's what matters. Huge credit to everyone at ISR.”

Bird will be joined on the front row tomorrow by Alexander Rossi, who was fasted in the Group B runners.

Although running on a quicker track, the American was a massive seven tenths down on Bird’s time.

Nevertheless, Rossi was pleased to be back at the front of the field after a difficult opening weekend in Aragon.

He said: “The goal was to finish in front, but above all to get to the end of the session without touching the barrier!

“For the team and me, qualifying on the front row is very important after a tricky start to the season. The start, of course, will be an important moment in the race.”

Such was the form Bird was in, Bianchi was a second down on his former GP2 rival.

The Tech 1 driver said: “Considering the limited driving I had in free practice, we did a good job. I didn't do a lot of laps on my second run, and I was far off my maximum.

“That's positive in terms of the race. DRS, tyre degradation and the other drivers' mistakes will all come into play.”

Carlin’s Kevin Magnussen will complete the second row while Championship leader Robin Frijns rounds out the top five.

Nick Yelloly, who won the opening round of the season, was fourth in the Group B runners and will start eighth.

 

Pos Driver Team Time Gap
 1.  Sam Bird            ISR         1m22.163s  Group 1
 2.  Alexander Rossi     Arden       1m22.863s  Group 2
 3.  Jules Bianchi       Tech 1      1m23.163s  Group 1
 4.  Kevin Magnussen     Carlin      1m22.875s  Group 2
 5.  Robin Frijns        Fortec      1m23.209s  Group 1
 6.  Nico Muller         Draco       1m23.032s  Group 2
 7.  Kevin Korjus        Tech 1      1m23.507s  Group 1
 8.  Nick Yelloly        Comtec      1m23.790s  Group 2
 9.  Marco Sorensen      Lotus       1m23.552s  Group 1
10.  Walter Grubmuller   P1          1m23.846s  Group 2
11.  Mikhail Aleshin     RFR         1m23.759s  Group 1
12.  Carlos Huertas      Fortec      1m23.865s  Group 2
13.  Jake Rosenzweig     ISR         1m24.083s  Group 1
14.  Will Stevens        Carlin      1m23.938s  Group 2
15.  Richie Stanaway     Lotus       1m24.546s  Group 1
16.  Lucas Foresti       DAMS        1m24.000s  Group 2
17.  Arthur Pic          DAMS        1m24.559s  Group 1
18.  Anton Nebylitskiy   RFR         1m24.089s  Group 2
19.  Vittorio Ghirelli   Comtec      1m26.112s  Group 1
20.  Andre Negrao        Draco       1m24.149s  Group 2
21.  Giovanni Venturini  BVM Target  1m26.921s  Group 1
22.  Zoel Amberg         Pons        1m24.228s  Group 2
23.  Yann Cunha          Pons        1m27.169s  Group 1
24.  Lewis Williamson    Arden       1m24.878s  Group 2
25.  Nikolay Martsenko   BVM Target  1m29.946s  Group 1
26.  Daniil Move         P1          1m25.990s  Group 2