British drivers will occupy the front row for the blue riband event of the World Series by Renault calendar as Oliver Turvey and James Walker topped their respective qualifying sessions on the streets of Monaco ahead of Sunday's single race.
Carlin Motorsport newcomer Turvey took his first World Series pole in a thrilling session, snatching top spot in the dying seconds to deny Walker, who had earlier topped the first of the split qualifying groups.
Racing Steps Foundation-supported Turvey had been among the frontrunners throughout the 25-minute session but, halfway through, dropped to third fastest with ten minutes to go. Gearing up for a final charge, the Briton dropped back to get some space, only for yellow flags at turn five to temporarily halt his progress. With just minutes left when the track went green again, Turvey bounced back to second with just enough time for one last flying effort, and pulled out all the stops to snatch pole from Adrian Zaugg by just 0.057secs. That proved to be good enough too to displace Walker from provisional top spot as Group B proved the faster of the two.
“It was a fantastic session for me, to get my first pole position in World Series and on my first visit to Monaco is a great feeling," Turvey enthused, "Monaco is a fantastic
circuit, it's a real drivers' circuit, and thankfully we got it all hooked up today. Free practice went well on Thursday, but our times didn't really reflect where we were as I still felt we had some more time to come and I felt confident that I could do a good job today. For the whole session, we were towards the top and then, right at the end, we were P2 going onto the last lap.
“My engineer told me over the radio that I had one lap left and I knew I had to go for it. It was a fantastic lap; I was almost touching the barriers in the corners, so I don't think there was much more to come on that lap. It was the perfect session for us.”
Despite being pipped to top spot, Walker was nevertheless delighted to have secured one of the two front row spots, claiming that outright fastest time was always likely to be beyond him. Pons' points leader Marcos Martinez had set the pace early on, ahead of Walker and Epsilon Euskadi's Adrian Valles as the timing screens showed constantly changing positions in the first few laps, but the Briton was the first to clock what was to be a series of fast tours, eventually pulling clear of his rivals.
“I'm over the moon with the result today,” he insisted after posting 1min 27.495secs, “We were very happy to be fastest overall in the practice session, so to carry that over to qualifying is great. My qualifying group was the first on track this morning when the circuit still needed cleaning up, so there was no way I could go for pole. I got the best result I could and I'm delighted to be on the front row.
"Tomorrow, I have to do everything I can to make the perfect start and then go for it. A podium at Monaco would be a dream come true. They always say qualifying is the hard part, but we've done that now and I can't wait for the race to begin!”