CLICK HERE for the full FR3.5 Qualifying (2) results from the Red Bull Ring
Matthieu Vaxiviere avenged his near miss in the first Formula Renault 3.5 qualifying session at the Red Bull Ring with a comfortable pole position second time around.
Rain and red flags characterised the half-hour session and led to a somewhat unusual order behind the leaders when the chequered flag fell. Vaxiviere, having been there or thereabouts throughout, saved his best for last, finding a drier line to post the session's best time at 1m 18.160s and enjoying a two-tenths cushion back to second-placed Roberto Merhi, the Manor F1 driver also posting his best lap right at the death.
The pair displaced race one polesitter Oliver Rowland, who had appeared on course for a top spot double, despite having had to crawl out of a gravel trap early in the session after being caught in one of the showers to hit the Spielberg region. In the end, the Briton's best of 1m 18.542s proved three-tenths too slow as his improvement failed to match the same gains as Vaxiviere and Merhi right at the end.
The changing conditions accounted for leading contenders Dean Stoneman and Tio Ellinas, the two practice pacesetters finding themselves down in twelfth and 19th respectively. Into their expected top ten slots come the unfancied Roy Nissany, who starts an excellent fifth, and Alfonso Celis Jr, who lines up eighth. The remainder of the top ten comprises Stoneman's DAMS team-mate Nyck de Vries, who joins Rowland on row two; Marlon Stockinger, who made it two top six starts on his return to the series; Meindert van Buuren, on his first outing with Pons, Nicolas Latifi and Pietro Fantin, who made amends for bringing out the red flag first time around by going tenth in Q2.
This time around, it was a mechanical failure for Beitske Visser – 16th in Q1 – that brought out the red flag, while Egor Orudzhev, a winner as recently as the Hungaroring, brings up the rear after an off. Series rookie Louis Deletraz, last in the opening session, improved to 18th for race two as Comtec returned to the series in low-key fashion.