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Le Mans: Series qualifying report

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Le Mans: Series qualifying report
Sep 7, 2008, 9:24 AM

Guerrieri takes the spoils! After an impressive performance in wet conditions in collective testing, Esteban Guerrieri (Ultimate Signature) continued his good form this morning on a perfectly dry track, earning his first pole position of ...

Guerrieri takes the spoils!

After an impressive performance in wet conditions in collective testing, Esteban Guerrieri (Ultimate Signature) continued his good form this morning on a perfectly dry track, earning his first pole position of the season. Behind him, second-placed qualifier Giedo Van der Garde (P1 Motorsport) will be keen to rack up some points and edge closer to the title.

Group A

With the sun shining, Giedo Van der Garde (P1 Motorsport) set the standard early in the session. Having claimed the lead, the Formula Renault 3.5 Series championship leader improved his time with every lap before pulling in to the pits at the midway mark, like most of his rivals.

Van der Garde's second run was almost as successful as his first. The Dutchman clocked his best time yet, lapping in 1'25''081, but in the closing moments, Fabio Carbone outdid him with a time of 1'25''029. Van der Garde thus finished second, with Marco Barba in third.

Group B

Julien Jousse (Tech 1 Racing) and Sergey Afanasiev (KTR) were both sent into a spin at the start of the session. Jousse crashed off, causing the red flag to be brought out, but not before his Tech 1 teammate Charles Pic had moved into first position with a time of 1'25''966. Pic was followed by Mikhail Aleshin (Carlin Motorsport), Alvaro Barba (Prema Powerteam) and Bertrand Baguette (International Draco Racing).

It was all change in the second part of the session, with Mikhail Aleshin clocking the best time of the group in 1'25''416. Alvaro Barba was the second-fastest, ahead of Pablo Sanchez (Interwetten.com Racing), Charles Pic, Alexandre Marsoin (Epsilon Euskadi) and James Walker (Fortec Motorsport), who thus qualified for his first SuperPole of the season.

SuperPole

Carlin Motorsport and Ultimate Signature both made a strong start to the SuperPole, with Aleshin leading from Guerrieri, Carbone and Wickens.

Giedo Van der Garde, however, quickly spoiled their party with a time of 1'26''069. Giedo was momentarily ousted from first place by Charles Pic, but soon regained his favourite position! Behind Van der Garde and Pic were the Barba brothers: Alvaro and then Marco.

Robert Wickens was the next man to lead the field, but the Canadian driver hardly had time to savour his achievement, as Van der Garde propelled himself back to the top of the timing screens with a lap timed at 1'25''309 just before he headed for the pits. At that point, Esteban Guerrieri clocked 1'25'124, enough to give the Argentine driver his first pole position of the campaign, ahead of Van der Garde, Aleshin and Carbone, at the end of a hard-fought SuperPole session in which less than a second separated the twelve drivers.

Esteban Guerrieri: "The car has been great all weekend, both in the wet yesterday and in dry conditions today. This first pole position is important for me. I hope I can win the race and help my team score some big points."

Giedo Van der Garde: "We went out too early, which was a mistake as it meant I got caught up in the traffic. That said, this is a good result. I've got two points, which puts me further ahead of my rivals for the title, Fabio Carbone and particularly Julien Jousse. So all in all it was a pretty positive session."

-credit: wsbyrenault.com

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