Ernesto Viso will line up on the inside of the third row for the inaugural Sardinia F3 Masters event, having run at the front of the pack during qualifying for the street event.

Competing with the crack Carlin Motorsports team for the first time, the Venezuelan youngster took third place in group qualifying, before falling slightly foul of the pressurised superpole system to drop a couple of places on the final grid line-up.

Viso's initial time was barely shy of pacesetters Robert Kubica and Paolo Montin around the 2.4km Cagliari track, and qualified ahead of the fancied Coloni trio, but clipped the tyre wall on the first of his two timed laps in the second session and lost valuable tenths in his quest for pole. Kubica went on to seal top spot for the first of two races this weekend, with Montin pushing him all the way.

"I am satisfied with the result, although I could have done better had I not touched the tyres at the chicane in the superpole," Viso admitted, "My tyres were still cold and I just brushed the wall, but it was enough to remove some of the car's performance.

"I think I have adapted quickly to the circuit - I suggested some changes for the chassis and immediately we were in the leading group. The track is more difficult than it appears on TV, and is very dirty offline. The traffic is also a problem and the track layout does not allow the smallest error. Today I brushed the wall twice - the first time in free practice and again during qualifying, where I set the third better time. Fortunately, we got away without too much damage.

"Now I will start on the third row and know that I have to avoid the walls. There are 28 very hard laps ahead of me, but I know that I can achieve a good result and won't stop fighting for the podium."

Temporary Carlin team-mate Clivio Piccione fared worse than the Venezuelan, crashing out of the opening practice session and failing to set a time in group qualifying as the team struggled to repair the damage. The Monegasque will start the first of the two races from the very back of the grid.



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