Marco Bonanomi hit top form during the SuperPole session for round two of the 2008 Renault World Series campaign at Spa-Francorchamps this weekend, by seeing off the challenge of championship leader Giedo van der Garde to clinch his first pole position in the championship and chalk up the four points that go with it.
Julien Jousse was the first to leap to the top of the timesheets, ahead of countryman Guillaume Moreau, van der Garde and Salvador Duran. Whilst Jousse remained initially untouchable, Bonanomi moved up into second before van der Garde blew them all out of the water with a brace of superb efforts.
Bonanomi, however, had not finished yet, and toppled the Dutchman by a scant three hundredths of a second to seal the deal, ahead of van der Garde, Mikhail Aleshin, Robert Wickens – who vaulted up to fourth in the dying stages – Jousse a scant thousandth of a second behind and Bertrand Baguette.
“The team has done a superb job,” the pole-sitter enthused afterwards. “Our car is performing very well. It was really hard to beat Giedo – he has been fastest in every one of the sessions.
“During the SuperPole I really went for it on every lap. Everything went well. Now I need to score race points to make up for Monza. Race one will be tricky, starting in fourth place.”
“It's good to be on the front row,” added van der Garde. “This morning, my car had a bit too much oversteer. I wanted to change the one thing that was affecting the handling, but we prepared a good set-up for the race during collective testing so I'm confident.”
During the Group A session, Prema Powerteam's Miguel Molina held the initial advantage, followed by Duran and Charles Pic. Van der Garde soon got into the thick of things, however, by setting a definitive time of 2m02.116s that would not again be challenged.
That left Moreau, Molina, Alexander Marsoin, Duran, Pic and Wickens all scrapping over second position, with the latter stealing it just before the session was halted following an accident suffered by Alvaro Barba. After the action got underway again, Duran and Molina displaced Wickens from P2, whilst a late effort from Moreau hoisted the KTR star up into fifth and – alongside sixth-placed Pablo Sanchez – assured his presence in the SuperPole.
Group B's session, meanwhile, was also interrupted when Fortec's Julian Theobald left the track. Once the action resumed, Baguette grabbed the initiative from Bonanomi and James Walker, but the Italian soon moved ahead of the early pace-setter, with Borja Garcia and Barba slotting in behind in third and fourth respectively, though the Prema Powerteam ace's aforementioned error saw his fastest time subsequently discounted, dashing his hopes of making SuperPole. Jousse, Aleshin and Walker completed the top six.
To see the SuperPole and group qualifying times in full, click here