Panis on pole after Vaxiviere disqualification

Aurelien Panis - Credit: Sebastiaan Rozendaal / Dutch Photo Agency / LAT Photographic

Matthieu Vaxiviere has lost his pole position earned during qualifying for race one at Spa-Francorchamps through no fault of his own.

The SMP Racing driver had set the best time of the first qualifying session of the Formula V8 3.5 Series weekend on Saturday morning, but will start the race from the back of the field after his mechanics worked on his car when it should have been under parc ferme conditions.

SMP Racing team manager Simone Giglio took full responsibility for the error, that will see Vaxiviere start from fifteenth on the grid and cost the team their first ever series pole position since joining the championship at the beginning of the 2016 season.

“It is not the best weekend for me, we have lost the pole and I think I have lost my job,” said Giglio. “It was my misunderstanding, I heard that parc ferme was open, and I thought it was open for everyone. It was my mistake.”

Vaxiviere’s demotion sees Aurélien Panis move up into the pole position, and will be joined on the front row by Arden Motorsport team-mate Egor Orudzhev, with Lotus driver Rene Binder and AVF’s Tom Dillmann now sharing row two.