FR3.5 » 1 January 1901
Molina secures maiden pole in Portugal.
Miguel Molina has scored his maiden World Series by Renault pole position after triumphing in Superpole for the latest round at Estoril, Portugal.
The Spaniard has enjoyed a chequered season this year with Prema Powerteam, but has come good recently, winning at the Nurburgring, before following that up with a second place last time out at Le Mans.
Topping the session with a lap some two tenths faster than his closest opposition, Molina will start from pole position for the more lucrative second race, where he will be joined alongside by Julien Jousse.
A big turnaround for the French driver, who languished down the order following free practice yesterday, Jousse is still looking for his first World Series victory, but a win this weekend would be well timed as he still bids to remain in title contention.
He has a good chance too as champion-elect Giedo van der Garde missed the cut for Superpole for the first time this season. The Dutchman will start 13th – seven places lower than his previous lowest qualifying position.
Charles Pic, the race winner at Le Mans, boosted Tech 1 Racing's chances to qualify third, ahead of fellow World Series rookie Robert Wickens. In-form driver Fabio Carbone was fifth fastest for Ultimate Signature, the Brazilian, like Jousse, bidding to keep his title hopes alive with another good performance this weekend.
Meanwhile, sixth, seventh and eighth fastest – or third, second and first on the grid for the opening race – were Marcos Martinez, Bertrand Baguette and Marco Bonanomi, the latter of which starting from his second pole position of the season in the process.
It meant the drivers missing out on a good grid position, despite reaching Superpole, included Alvaro Barba, Esteban Guerrieri, Marco Barba and Alexandre Marsoin, the Frenchman having failed to set a time after suffering a big accident at the end of his qualifying group.
Outside the 'magic' top 12 positions, other expected frontrunners in unusual positions included Mikhail Aleshin in 13th and Salvador Duran in 19th, while returnee Filip Albuquerque was a solid 15th on the grid for his home race.
As for the Brits, James Walker was 17th quickest, with newly-announced Indy Lights driver Pippa Mann 20th and Duncan Tappy 23rd.
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