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Wickens storms to Silverstone pole

1 January 1901

Robert Wickens produced an outstanding lap of the Silverstone circuit to claim his first ever World Series by Renault pole position ahead of the fourth round of the season.

The Canadian headed into the grid-deciding Superpole on a confidence high after proving quickest during the group stages, but while he left it late to make his play, his time in the final five minutes was enough to resist championship leader Giedo van der Garde by a good three tenths.

Also a first pole position of the season for Carlin Motorsport, Wickens clawed back the two tenths he lost in the first sector with an outstanding run in sectors two and three to guarantee himself pole position for the second race of the weekend.

Starting eighth for the first race – as a result of the Superpole system that sees the top eight drivers reversed -, Wickens will start alongside van der Garde, who looked like he was heading for the top spot having been in charge for much of the session.

Still, while he missed out on the top spot, second place does still mark the fourth time of the Dutchman has started on the front row this year.

Behind Wickens and van der Garde, Esteban Guerrieri arguably provided the surprise of the day with a superb drive to third on the grid ahead of his maiden outing with Ultimate Signature. The Argentine was the only big mover in the latter stages of a session that began to lose pace as clouds descended over the Northamptonshire circuit.

Salvador Duran will start fourth in his Interwetten Racing machine, while Marcos Martinez – who initially set the pace – mirrored his impressive form in practice to take a season's best fifth on the grid for himself and Pons Racing.

In the battle of the brothers, Marco Barba got the better of older sibling Alvaro for the first time as the Draco driver also made his debut appearance in Superpole. The Spaniard will start sixth, with Alvaro eighth, the pair sandwiching Fabio Carbone, who rounded off Ultimate's excellent start to day in seventh.

It means the Brazilian, together with Alvaro Barba will make up the front row for the first race of the weekend, to be held later today.

Just missing out on a spot at the front of the grid, Guillaume Moreau was a disappointing ninth having been a pace setter earlier in the day. The Frenchman will start ahead of Fairuz Fauzy, Bertrand Baguette and Charles Pic in 10th, 11th and 12th.

Outside the Superpole, there were some surprise absentees starting 13th place downwards as a handful of drivers struggled to squeeze into the upper echelons after two very tight qualifying groups.

The most high-profile driver missing was Mikhail Aleshin, who is currently second in the championship standings, the Carlin driver going only seventh fastest in his group, leaving him down in 16th on the grid as a result.

Tech 1 Racing's Julien Jousse was also ousted and will start 14th, directly behind renowned qualifying expert Marco Bonanomi, who also failed to make the order in his Comtec machine.

Sadly for British fans, all three home grown drivers will start further down the order than hoped, with James Walker leading the way in 18th, ahead of 24th place Pippa Mann and debutant Duncan Tappy, who will start in 23rd.