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Hartley snares 'Ring pole on return
19 September 2009
The decision by Red Bull to move protégé Brendon Hartley to the World Series by Renault is already paying dividends after the New Zealander secured pole position for the penultimate round of the season at the Nurburgring.
Capitalising on having recently driven the German circuit during his stint in the Formula 3 Euroseries, Hartley continued his fine form from free practice to ease through the group phase before snatching overall pole position.
Coming shortly after winning his first F3 Euroseries race for Carlin Motorsport at Brands Hatch, Hartley led a Tech 1 Racing 1-2, with team-mate Charles Pic joining him on the front row.
The Frenchman had been demoted to third in the latter stages by James Walker, but his swift final effort was enough to regain the position, even if he remained some two tenths off Hartley.
Title contender Walker, who heads into the round 31 points adrift of leader Bertrand Baguette, received a further blow when he was dropped to an eventual third row starting position in fifth, behind Carlin's Oliver Turvey and Mofaz Fortec's Fairuz Fauzy.
Nonetheless, he remains ahead of Baguette, the Belgian driver qualifying in seventh position, just behind Comtec Racing's Portimao race winner Jon Lancaster.
Baguette does, however, have a good chance to stretch his advantage in race one, his seventh position ensuring a front row start on the reverse grid. Walker's P1 Motorsport team-mate Daniil Move stands between the Draco driver and his hopes of potentially wrapping up the title this weekend.
Just missing out on starting up front for race one was Sten Pentus, the Estonian doing a mighty job to out-qualify Scuderia Toro Rosso F1 driver and outside title contender Jaime Alguersuari in ninth and tenth. Guillaume Moreau and Marcos Martinez start 11th and 12th as the remaining Superpole contenders.
Elsewhere, Salvador Duran marked his return to competition by qualifying 16th for Interwetten Racing, while debutant Kaisuke Kunimoto starts a respectable 19th, ahead of Epsilon Euskadi team-mate Chris van der Drift, the New Zealander having crashed during the group stages.
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