17 October 2015
FR3.5 Jerez: Pole-sitter Dillmann pleased with improvements
The Frenchman has made consistent improvements after six fifth placed finishes transferred into a podium in front of his home crowd at Le Mans.
Tom Dillmann has praised Carlin after securing a race one pole position in a wet qualifying at the ninth round of the Formula Renault 3.5 championship at Jerez.
The Frenchman has made consistent improvements after six fifth placed finishes transferred into a podium in front of his home crowd at Le Mans. It was a disrupted qualifying in the morning with red flags and changing temperaments altering track conditions.
It was the Carlin racer, however, who remained on top form for most of the session, dominating the morning running despite the slippery conditions at a humid Jerez. His best time of 1:28.621, set on his fifth of 11 flying circulations, was only a second down on Will Stevens' 2014 pole lap in drier conditions.
His pole postion, he tells Crash.net was partly down to the team's approach to qualifying and their correct strategy in the face of changing conditions.
"The car felt really good out there, we are confident with the balance and the engineers made the right choices." he said at the dampened track. "At Le Mans we were close as well so I feel really good about the car and the improvements that the team has made."
The 26-year-old is one of the oldest in the field, having raced in GP2, GP3 and Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup before joining Carlin at the end of 2014. It is this experience across a range of circuits and at the helm of several cars that kept Dillmann constantly within the top ten before securing pole position.
"We were leading for quite a while in qualifying and we have always been close to that first place spot all weekend," he continued. "Obviously, I would like a dry race and no need to pit stop but it is raining, it happens."
A podium this weekend could give mark his third of the season, in a year won by Fortec Motorsport's Oliver Rowland. It may also see the Frenchman secure third in the championship standings, surpassing the likes of two-time race winners Egor Orudzhev and Tio Ellinas, as well as the DAMS duo of Nyck de Vries and Dean Stoneman, to the coveted third place spot.
"My aim is to finish third [in the championship], it is tight between third and eighth so it is a really important weekend," he admits with a wry smile. "We are probably fresher than the two guys in front in the championship but we all want the third place."
This achievement, Dillmann concludes, is all the more impressive as Carlin took a year out of FR3.5 in 2014 only to return this year with the support of title sponsors Indonesian company, Jagonya Ayam. A lack of testing relative to their rivals, left the team on the back foot when the season began at Motorland, Aragon in April.
"The team started from zero, Carlin did it before but as. we didn't do much testing, it was very difficult to try and do well in the championship at the beginning.
"Over time, we have made progress in a quick car and showed a lot of pace."
Rain is expected to impact the race when the 19 drivers line up at 14:30 local time on the wet circuit. Dillmann will the Fortec pairing of Oliver Rowland and Jazeman Jaafar from the line when the race gets under way this afternoon.
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