Sirotkin Storms to Home Pole but Sainz Struggles in Moscow

by Paul Hensby

Sergey Sirotkin secured his first career Formula Renault 3.5 Series pole position in front of his home fans at the Moscow Raceway. The Russian driver was the only driver to set a lap time of under 1:21s, taking top spot with a 1:20.992s towards the end of the session.

The Fortec Motorsports driver will be joined on the front row by Red Bull junior driver Pierre Gasly of Arden Motorsport, who took away second place from Spaniard Roberto Merhi right at the end of the season. Merhi will start third for Zeta Corse, with AV Formula’s Zoel Amberg in fourth. Amberg was the initial pace setter during the session, setting his personal best time before everyone returned to the pit lane to bolt on a new set of tyres.

Pietro Fantin was fifth for International Draco Racing, with the Brazilian just beating the second Fortec Motorsports car of Oliver Rowland, the Briton having to settle for sixth. The sole ISR Racing entry of Jazeman Jaafar will start this afternoon’s race from seventh place.

Colombian teenager Oscar Tunjo, who only made his series debut last time out at Spa-Francorchamps, qualified an excellent eighth for Pons Racing, with Monza race one winner Will Stevens of Strakka Racing 0.009s behind in ninth. Richie Stanaway will start race one from tenth in the leading Lotus.

The DAMS team who have been so dominant throughout 2014 so far in Formula Renault 3.5 struggled, and championship leader Carlos Sainz Jr, who has taken four wins and five pole positions in the seven previous rounds, will start down in unfamiliar territory down in sixteenth. Team-mate Norman Nato, pole sitter and race winner in Monaco is even lower down the order and will start race one on the back row of the grid in nineteenth.

Moscow Raceway Race 1 Qualifying Result

1 Sergey Sirotkin RUS Fortec Motorsports 1:20.992
2 Pierre Gasly FRA Arden Motorsport 1:21.211
3 Roberto Merhi ESP Zeta Corse 1:21.223
4 Zoel Amberg SWI AV Formula 1:21.269
5 Pietro Fantin BRZ Internationa-l Draco Racing 1:21.304
6 Oliver Rowland GBR Fortec Motorsports 1:21.372
7 Jazeman Jaafar MAL ISR 1:21.487
8 Oscar Tunjo COL Pons Racing 1:21.510
9 Will Stevens GBR Strakka Racing 1:21.519
10 Richie Stanaway NZL Lotus 1:21.709
11 Marlon Stockinger INO Lotus 1:21.761
12 Matias Lainé FIN Strakka Racing 1:21.779
13 William Buller GBR Arden Motorsport 1:21.834
14 Beitske Visser NED AV Formula 1:21.863
15 Meindert Van Buuren NED Pons Racing 1:21.888
16 Carlos Sainz Jr ESP DAMS 1:21.895
17 Luca Ghiotto ITA International Draco Racing 1:21.992
18 Marco Sorensen DEN Tech 1 Racing 1:22.088
19 Norman Nato FRA DAMS 1:22.104
20 Roman Mavlanov RUS Zeta Corse 1:22.276


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