Rene Binder and Alex Palou have shared out the pole positions at the Circuit of the Americas as the World Series Formula V8 3.5 championship makes its debut stateside this weekend.
Binder, who has seen his championship challenge slip away from him in recent races, headed a Lotus 1-2 ahead of Pietro Fittipaldi in the first qualifying session on Thursday evening, with the Austrian racing with a new engine this weekend as he looks to revive those fading hopes of the title.
The team-mates up-front were the only drivers to dip below 1:50s during the opening session, with Binder’s 1:49.764s beating Fittipaldi by 0.168 seconds, while Egor Orudzhev of SMP Racing by AVF and Palou of Teo Martin Motorsport will share row two, 0.264 and 0.319 seconds back respectively.
Mateovos Isaakyan, who currently sits second in the standings to Fittipaldi with just this weekend’s races and two more in Bahrain to come, will start the opening race from fifth on the grid in the second SMP Racing by AVF machine, with Konstantin Tereschenko, fresh off his maiden series podium in Mexico City last time out, joining him on the third row.
Alfonso Celis Jr and Diego Menchaca form an all-Fortec Motorsports row four, while RP Motorsport duo Yu Kanamaru and Roy Nissany complete row five, ahead of the sole Il Barone Rampante driver Giuseppe Cipriani.
Circuit of the Americas Race 1 Qualifying Result
|3||5||Egor Orudzhev||RUS||SMP Racing by AVF||1:50.028|
|4||10||Alex Palou||ESP||Teo Martin Motorsport||1:50.083|
|5||6||Matevos Isaakyan||RUS||SMP Racing by AVF||1:50.148|
|6||9||Konstantin Tereschenko||RUS||Teo Martin Motorsport||1:50.633|
|7||7||Alfonso Celis Jr||MEX||Fortec Motorsports||1:50.756|
|8||8||Diego Menchaca||MEX||Fortec Motorsports||1:51.169|
|9||12||Yu Kanamaru||JAP||RP Motorsport||1:51.281|
|10||11||Roy Nissany||ISR||RP Motorsport||1:51.489|
|11||15||Giuseppe Cipriani||ITA||Barone Rampante||1:54.157|
The eleven drivers returned to the track for their second qualifying session on Friday morning, and it saw Palou and Fittipaldi set identical times at the top of the timing screens, with the Spaniard assuming top spot by the fact he set the time first.
Palou set the time of 1:49.411s with less than two minutes remaining, but Fittipaldi could only match that time as the chequered flag fell, with both drivers just over a tenth faster than Orudzhev in third.
Race one pole sitter Binder will start race two from fourth on the grid, with Isaakyan again fifth, while Celis Jr is sixth ahead of Nissany, Menchaca, Tereschenko, Kanamaru and Cipriani.
Circuit of the Americas Race 2 Qualifying Result
|1||10||Alex Palou||ESP||Teo Martin Motorsport||1:49.411|
|3||5||Egor Orudzhev||RUS||SMP Racing by AVF||1:49.535|
|5||6||Matevos Isaakyan||RUS||SMP Racing by AVF||1:50.081|
|6||7||Alfonso Celis Jr||MEX||Fortec Motorsports||1:50.153|
|7||11||Roy Nissany||ISR||RP Motorsport||1:50.161|
|8||8||Diego Menchaca||MEX||Fortec Motorsports||1:50.612|
|9||9||Konstantin Tereschenko||RUS||Teo Martin Motorsport||1:50.783|
|10||12||Yu Kanamaru||JAP||RP Motorsport||1:50.946|
|11||15||Giuseppe Cipriani||ITA||Barone Rampante||1:53.779|