Qualifying for race two at the Moscow Raceway saw a surprise pole sitter in the form of Roberto Merhi. The young Spaniard set a time of 1:20.773s towards the end of the session to put his Zeta Corse machine on the top of the timing screens.
New Zealander Richie Stanaway will join him on the front row; the Lotus driver was the only other competitor to break through the 1:21s barrier. Stanaway missed out on his maiden pole position in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series by the smallest of margins – 0.015s.
Pierre Gasly, currently second in the championship standings, will start race two from third position on the grid. The Frenchman, part of the Red Bull junior programme, will be hoping for an improved race two after stalling on the grid before race one in his Arden Motorsport machine.
Likewise, fourth placed Oliver Rowland will also be hoping to avoid stalling on the line. Like Gasly, he was forced to start race one from the pit lane, but ultimately crashed out of the race in an incident with DAMS driver Carlos Sainz Jr on the seventh lap while fighting for seventeenth position.
Race one winner Sergey Sirotkin will start race two from fifth position, finishing 0.001s behind his Fortec Motorsport team-mate Rowland. Sixth place will start Philippines driver Marlon Stockinger in the second Lotus who seemed to have found some extra pace over night after finishing in the minor points positions in race one.
Yesterday’s runner-up Zoel Amberg will start from seventh place on the race two grid for AV Formula, ahead of Matias Lainé of Strakka Racing, who has began to show some kind of form in the past number of races. Unseen by many in race one, he overtook Stanaway in the closing stages to take eighth place off the Lotus driver.
Sainz Jr had a much-improved qualifying session on Sunday, and took the ninth fastest time. However with his two-place penalty handed to him by the stewards for the collision with Rowland in race one, he will start in eleventh.
Ninth therefore is inherited by the second AV Formula machine of Dutch teenager Beitske Visser, who enjoyed her best qualifying session of the season. The second Strakka Racing entry of Caterham F1 test driver Will Stevens struggled during the session but will start the race from tenth.
Moscow Raceway Race 2 Qualifying Result
|1||Roberto Merhi||ESP||Zeta Corse||1:20.773|
|3||Pierre Gasly||FRA||Arden Motorsport||1:21.325|
|4||Oliver Rowland||GBR||Fortec Motorsports||1:21.388|
|5||Sergey Sirotkin||RUS||Fortec Motorsports||1:21.389|
|7||Zoel Amberg||SWI||AV Formula||1:21.487|
|8||Matias Lainé||FIN||Strakka Racing||1:21.539|
|9||Beitske Visser||NED||AV Formula||1:21.614|
|10||Will Stevens||GBR||Strakka Racing||1:21.681|
|11*||Carlos Sainz Jr||ESP||DAMS||1:21.575|
|12||William Buller||GBR||Arden Motorsport||1:21.729|
|13||Oscar Tunjo||COL||Pons Racing||1:21.729|
|16||Marco Sorensen||DEN||Tech 1 Racing||1:21.998|
|17||Luca Ghiotto||ITA||International Draco Racing||1:22.129|
|18||Roman Mavlanov||RUS||Zeta Corse||1:22.139|
|19||Meindert van Buuren||NED||Pons Racing||1:22.380|
|20||Pietro Fantin||BRZ||International Draco Racing||1:26.434|
*2 place grid drop penalty