Jaafar beats Rowland to Monaco pole

by Paul Hensby

Jazeman Jaafar beat his Fortec Motorsports team-mate Oliver Rowland in the split qualifying session to take his first career Formula Renault 3.5 Series pole position in Monaco.

The Malaysian driver, who has finished on the podium on both of his previous visits to the street track, was the fastest in the second session, his 1m23.425s beating Rowland’s 1m24.370s in the first half.

The qualifying was split due to the tight and twisty nature of the Monaco track, and it was the Fortec Motorsports team that led the way in both.

Rowland led Group A, with DAMS’ Nyck de Vries over half a second back in second, with the Dutch driver set to line-up fourth on the grid as a result. Third in the group was Strakka Racing’s Tio Ellinas ahead of his team-mate Gustav Malja, while International Draco Racing’s Pietro Fantin completed the top ten.

Rowland sat in the garage knowing he could do nothing about the times of Group B, and indeed he was unable to stop Jaafar setting a quicker time and therefore taking pole position.

Matthieu Vaxiviere was second fastest in the session in his Lotus, and will line-up third on the grid, with Dean Stoneman in the Red Bull-liveried DAMS third ahead of Frenchman Tom Dillmann of Jagonya Ayam with Carlin and Arden Motorsports’ Russian driver Egor Orudzhev.

Group A was affected by a red flag period when Pons Racing’s Philo Paz Patric Armand hit the barriers hard in the Swimming Pool complex. The Indonesian was able to walk away from the accident, but his car was heavily damaged leaving his mechanics a lot of work to do before the race gets underway on Sunday morning.

Another driver to hit the barriers during the session was Tech 1 Racing’s Roy Nissany, although the Israeli driver was able to return to the pits under his own steam, although he did not make many friends by dropping debris from his car onto the track as he did so.

Monaco Qualifying Result

13Jazeman JaafarMALFortec Motorsports1m23.425s
24Oliver RowlandGBRFortec Motorsports1m24.370s
39Matthieu VaxiviereFRALotus1m23.827s
41Nyck de VriesNEDDAMS1m24.370s
52Dean StonemanGBRDAMS1m24.127s
611Tio EllinasCYPStrakka Racing1m25.127s
726Tom DillmannFRAJagonya Ayam with Carlin1m24.388s
812Gustav MaljaSWEStrakka Racing1m25.332s
96Egor OrudzhevRUSArden Motorsport1m24.635s
1019Pietro FantinBRZInternational Draco Racing1m25.444s
115Nicholas LatifiCANArden Motorsport1m25.028s
1215Alfonso Celis JrMEXAVF1m25.850s
1320Bruno BonifacioBRZInternational Draco Racing1m25.359s
1416Beitske VisserNEDAVF1m25.873s
1518Aurelien PanisFRATech 1 Racing1m25.659s
1610Meindert van BuurenNEDLotus1m26.348s
1740Alex FontanaSWIPons Racing1m26.167s
1825Sean GelaelINOJagonya Ayam with Carlin1m26.841s
1917Roy NissanyISRTech 1 Racing1m28.122s
2039Philo Paz Patric ArmandINOPons Racing1m34.213s

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