Tio Ellinas grabbed a home pole position for the Strakka Racing team at Silverstone in an exciting first qualifying session of the weekend for the Formula Renault 3.5 Series.
The Cypriot racer was quick throughout, and with the track getting faster and faster following overnight rain left the track damp, Ellinas hit the top with a lap of 1m41.858s to grab the pole.
The session was red-flagged early when series returnee Nick Yelloly spun his Lotus into the Luffield gravel trap, moments after Tech 1 Racing’s Roy Nissany stopped on track at Becketts.
On resumption, times began to tumble, and many drivers found their way to the top of the timing screens, with championship contender Matthieu Vaxiviere getting closest to Ellinas’ time, ending 0.236s adrift in his Lotus.
Championship leader Oliver Rowland looked set to take pole midway through the session, but slipped to third in his Fortec Motorsports entry, while his team-mate Jazeman Jaafar will join the Brit on the second row, with just 0.004s separating them in qualifying.
Pietro Fantin continued his good practice form with a fifth place qualifying slot for International Draco Racing, just ahead of the leading Jagonya Ayam with Carlin machine of Frenchman Tom Dillmann, while Nicholas Latifi of Arden Motorsport and Nyck de Vries of DAMS will start on row four.
Aurélien Panis was ninth quickest for Tech 1 Racing but is under investigation for exceeding track limits, while Gustav Malja qualified tenth in the second Strakka Racing entry.
Dean Stoneman was only eleventh in the Red Bull-backed DAMS machine, being displaced a number of positions in the closing seconds of the session after sitting second behind Ellinas for a while.
Neither Yelloly and Nissany set a time and will therefore start at the back of the grid, just behind the two Pons Racing entries, with Will Bratt, racing a single seater for the first time since 2011, out-qualifying team-mate Philo Paz Patric Armand.
Silverstone Race 1 Qualifying Result
|1||11||Tio Ellinas||CYP||Strakka Racing||1m41.858s|
|3||4||Oliver Rowland||GBR||Fortec Motorsports||1m42.184s|
|4||3||Jazeman Jaafar||MAL||Fortec Motorsports||1m42.188s|
|5||19||Pietro Fantin||BRZ||International Draco Racing||1m42.324s|
|6||26||Tom Dillmann||FRA||Jagonya Ayam with Carlin||1m42.343s|
|7||5||Nicholas Latifi||CAN||Arden Motorsport||1m42.487s|
|8||1||Nyck de Vries||NED||DAMS||1m42.500s|
|9||18||Aurelien Panis||FRA||Tech 1 Racing||1m42.514s|
|10||12||Gustav Malja||SWE||Strakka Racing||1m42.519s|
|12||6||Egor Orudzhev||RUS||Arden Motorsport||1m42.773s|
|14||25||Sean Gelael||INO||Jagonya Ayam with Carlin||1m43.380s|
|15||20||Bruno Bonifacio||BRZ||International Draco Racing||1m43.494s|
|16||15||Alfonso Celis Jr||MEX||AVF||1m45.545s|
|17||40||Will Bratt||GBR||Pons Racing||1m45.806s|
|18||39||Philo Paz Patric Armand||INO||Pons Racing||1m46.030s|
|19||10||Nick Yelloly||GBR||Lotus||No Time|
|20||17||Roy Nissany||ISR||Tech 1 Racing||No Time|