Coloni Motorsport put itself firmly amongst the frontrunners at the inaugural Sardinia F3 Masters when Marco Bonanomi put the first of the team's Lola-Dome chassis in third place during the superpole qualifying session.

The Italian was only a few tenths off the front row after an exciting - and unique - two-lap superpole run, and showed little sign of being overawed by his first street circuit event. The 18-year old set an excellent time of 2min 19.829secs for his combined two-lap effort, despite the fact that Coloni's well-sorted car was running for the first time on Avon tyres, and only a small mistake prevented him from possibly snatching a place on the first row.

"The circuit is wonderful and F3 Sardinia Master is an incredible experience!" Bonanomi enthused, "I'm very happy, everything went really went and the car is excellent. We could also do some work ahead of Saturday's race, which will be long and demanding. I hope I will get a good result and take then a favourable position on the starting grid of race two."

Formula Three debutant Michele Ruggolo also took a good result in the session, securing sixth place in a time of 2min 20.996secs, but Coloni's best placed Italian Championship runner, Christian Montanari, was only ninth after mechanical problems prevented him from setting a competitive time. Although he had been in the mix for provisional pole during group qualifying, the national F3 runner-up suffered a rear suspension failure immediately before the superpole session. Due to the regulations, Coloni's mechanics could only fix the problem only after the chequered flag and the San Marinese driver had to limp around his two laps.

"I'm very satisfied with the results of our three drivers, who were always in the fight for the pole," team boss Paolo Coloni said, "I'm sorry for what happened to Christian, who was deprived of the capability of taking the front row. However, I think that, on Saturday, we shall improve cars' performance in order to exploit the technical superiority we currently have and then to take the podium as reward for the good job done - in spite of our lack of experience with Avon tyres."

 

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