Sainz Jr Back on Form with Nurburgring Pole

by Paul Hensby

After the disappointment of Russia two weeks ago, Carlos Sainz Jr and his DAMS team were back at the top of the timing screens as the Spaniard took pole position for race one of the Formula Renault 3.5 Series weekend at the Nurburgring in Germany.

In a session delayed by an hour and reduced to 25 minutes due to early fog, it was the Fortec Motorsports duo of Oliver Rowland and Sergey Sirotkin who set the early pace, but both were eclipsed by Sainz Jr as the session came to an end.

Collective test pace setter Roberto Merhi will start alongside Sirotkin in fourth for Zeta Corse, while the third row of the grid will see Marlon Stockinger of Lotus starting fifth and Matias Laine of Strakka Racing in sixth.

Colombian Oscar Tunjo had a strong run to seventh for Pons Racing, while International Draco Racing qualified in eighth and ninth, with Pietro Fantin ahead of Luca Ghiotto. Zoel Amberg of AV Formula qualified 0.001s slower than Ghiotto and will start tenth, while Beitske Visser will start in eleventh after setting a time identical to that of her AV team-mate.

As the track conditions improved after the delayed start, some big names were caught out, with the biggest casualty being Pierre Gasly of Arden Motorsport, who will start race one down in seventeenth.

Series debutants Alfonso Celis Jr, of Tech 1 Racing, and Cameron Twynham, of Comtec Racing, will form the back row of the grid in Germany, but both were within two seconds of the pole time as they continue their adjustment to the Formula Renault 3.5 Series cars.

Nurburgring Race 1 Qualifying Result

1 Carlos Sainz Jr ESP DAMS 1:40.820
2 Oliver Rowland GBR Fortec Motorsports 1:40.845
3 Sergey Sirotkin RUS Fortec Motorsports 1:40.862
4 Roberto Merhi ESP Zeta Corse 1:40.902
5 Marlon Stockinger PHI Lotus 1:40.921
6 Matias Laine FIN Strakka Racing 1:41.033
7 Oscar Tunjo COL Pons Racing 1:41.142
8 Pietro Fantin BRZ International Draco Racing 1:41.254
9 Luca Ghiotto ITA International Draco Racing 1:41.366
10 Zoel Amberg SWI AV Formula 1:41.367
11 Beitske Visser NED AV Formula 1:41.367
12 Will Stevens GBR Strakka Racing 1:41.448
13 William Buller GBR Arden Motorsport 1:41.469
14 Marco Sorensen DEN Tech 1 Racing 1:41.531
15 Norman Nato FRA DAMS 1:41.573
16 Meindert van Buuren NED Pons Racing 1:41.628
17 Pierre Gasly FRA Arden Motorsport 1:41.676
18 Matthieu Vaxiviere FRA Lotus 1:41.788
19 Roman Mavlanov RUS Zeta Corse 1:41.864
20 Jazeman Jaafar MAL ISR 1:42.308
21 Alfonso Celis Jr MEX Tech 1 Racing 1:42.676
22 Cameron Twynham GBR Comtec Racing 1:42.815


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