Tobias Hegewald scored his first pole position of the FIA Formula Two Championship season in qualifying for the first race of the weekend at Brands Hatch.
A number of drivers took turns at the head of the timesheets in the early stages, with Thiemo Storz in first place when the red flags came out after Korean Sunghak Mun spun on the exit of Paddock Hill Bend and stalled.
After the restart many of the drivers waited until the final ten minutes to change to fresh rubber. Once they did, Alex Brundle and Jack Clarke both moved into provisional pole. Spaniard Ramon Pineiro then took top spot, before championship leader Mirko Bortolotti moved ahead.
Bortolotti and Brundle then made contact at Hawthorn, bringing an early end to the Italian's session. Pineiro took advantage to take back first place, only for Hegewald to better his effort by 0.109s to take pole position.
“I really like the circuit it has a lot of fast corners and it was one of my most fun qualifying laps,” said Hegewald afterwards. “I was struggling a little bit in qualifying at the start of the season and I couldn’t get the best out of the new tyres. I have been fourth, fifth or sixth so it has been difficult to get a good position in the race. I think I’ve found a good way to use the tyres.”
Bortolotti held onto third position behind Pineiro, with Clarke fourth and Brundle fifth. Mihai Marinescu was sixth quickest, but will take a five-place grid penalty after ignoring a red flag in free practice. That will drop him behind Miki Monras, Benjamin Lariche, title contender Christopher Zanella (who showed some improvement after languishing outside of the top ten in both free practice sessions), Max Snegirev and Storz.
Race one gets underway at 1:50pm local time.
Qualifying 1 results:
1. Tobias Hegewald, +1:16.199s
2. Ramon Pineiro, +0.109s
3. Mirko Bortolotti, +0.112s
4. Jack Clarke, +0.145s
5. Alex Brundle, +0.360s
6. Mihai Marinescu, +0.392s
7. Miki Monras, +0.442s
8. Benjamin Lariche, +0.482s
9. Christopher Zanella, +0.590s
10. Max Snegirev, +0.648s