||Post qualifying interviews with Maro Engel, Stephen Jelley and Sergio Perez
Maro Engel (#23 Carlin Motorsport) continued from the good start to the weekend in this morning's Free Practice session to secure his second Pole Position of the season. The German finished the 30-miniute qualifying period 0.052 seconds ahead of Stephen Jelley (#1 Raikkonen Robertson Racing) and a further 0.072 seconds ahead Atte Mustonen (#26 Raikkonen Robertson Racing).
The National Class pole was secured by Sergio Perez (#31 T Sport). 0.251 seconds ahead of his championship rival 'Frankie' Cheng (#39 Performance Racing), with Hamad Al Fardan (#38 Performance Racing) in third.
The early pace was set by Sam Bird (#3 Carlin Motorsport) who was the first driver of the weekend to post a sub 1minute 47 second lap with a 1m46.546 on lap 4 and then went even faster a lap later, posting a 1m46.392. After 10 minutes Bird was in provisional pole position from Engel and Mustonen.
After seven laps Bird returned to the pits, thinking he'd done enough but a lap later Jelley put in a 1m46.293 lap, 0.099 seconds faster than the Carlin driver. Atte Mustonen then followed his Double R teammate and demoted Bird to 3rd with a 46.365. However at the same time Maro Engel had set the fastest time of the session for sector 2 and as he exited the Parabolica he was right behind the Hitech Dallara of Walter Grubmuller. The German used the Austrian's tow and crossed the line in 1m46.241, which wasn't beaten for the rest of the session.
Championship leader Marko Asmer (#7 Hitech Racing) improved his best time towards the end of the session and will start Round 9 in 5th place, just ahead of Sebastian Hohenthal (#5 Fortec Motorsport). Greg Mansell will head the 4th row, just ahead of Jonathan Kennard. Carlin teammates Niall Breen and Alberto Valerio rounded out the top 10.
Francesco Castellaci (#8 ADR) suffered his second engine failure of the weekend on his first lap of the qualifying session and failed to set a time. The ADR mechanics are now working hard to get the car ready for the second qualifying session at 17:30 (local time)
The top 18 set times inside the British F3 lap record set by 2005 Champion Alvaro Parente (1m48.149) but this record will stand until some beats it in one of the two races tomorrow.
Maro Engel (Pole Position): "That was awesome, it's been a while since the first one (Pole Position) so it's good to get this one here (at Monza). I think the GT cars have laid down a lot rubber and the track really gripped up, which has allowed us to go faster than this morning and the speed just came."
Stephen Jelley (2nd on grid): "It's good. I didn't have any form of tow, I was on my own, and it means we're in the race. It's looking good for tomorrow, it's easy to overtake here so it's going to be a mega race."
Sergio Perez (National Class Pole Position): "We've had a good start to the weekend and we are on pole and we must start thinking about second qualifying to get pole there as well. We have good pace, we are 12th overall, so we must keep pushing to get the second pole. Monza is a really great circuit, I've played it already on the Playstation and it's just amazing and Monza is now one of my favourite circuits."
QUALIFYING - Round 9
1 23 C Maro ENGEL GER Dallara F307 Mercedes HWA 1:46.241 10laps
2 1 C Stephen JELLEY GBR Dallara F307 Mercedes HWA 1:46.293 10 +0.052
3 26 C Atte MUSTONEN FIN Dallara F307 Mercedes HWA 1:46.365 12 +0.124
4 3 C Sam BIRD GBR Dallara F307 Mercedes HWA 1:46.392 8 + 0.151
5 7 C Marko ASMER EST Dallara F307 Mercedes HWA 1:46.574 15 +0.333
6 5 C Sebastian HOHENTHAL SWE Dallara F307 Mercedes HWA 1:46.672 16 +0.431
7 50 C Greg MANSELL GBR Dallara F307 Mercedes HWA 1:46.742 17 +0.501
8 2 C Jonathan KENNARD GBR Dallara F307 Mercedes HWA 1:47.018 14 +0.777
9 21 C Niall BREEN IRL Dallara F307 Mercedes HWA 1:47.106 14 +0.865
10 22 C Alberto VALERIO BRA Dallara F307 Mercedes HWA 1:47.145 14 +0.904
11 14 C Esteban GUERRIERI ARG Mygale Mercedes HWA 1:47.329 12 +1.088
12 31 N Sergio PEREZ MEX Dallara F304 Mugen-Honda 1:47.488 13 +1.247
13 24 C John MARTIN AUS Dallara F307 Mugen-Honda 1:47.546 16 +1.305
14 6 C Walter GRUBMULLER AUT Dallara F307 Mercedes HWA 1:47.563 14 +1.322
15 9 C Rodolfo GONZALEZ VEN Dallara F307 Mugen-Honda 1:47.684 16 +1.443
16 4 C Mario MORAES BRA Dallara F307 Mercedes HWA 1:47.688 14 +1.447
17 39 N CHENG Cong Fu CHN Dallara F304 Mugen-Honda 1:47.739 14 +1.498
18 15 C Michael DEVANEY IRL Mygale Mercedes HWA 1:47.771 15 +1.530
19 16 C Max CHILTON GBR Dallara F307 Mercedes HWA 1:48.187 15 +1.946
20 62 I Matteo CHINOSI ITA Dallara F305 Mugen-Honda 1:48.316 15 +2.075
21 44 C Leo MANSELL GBR Dallara F307 Mercedes HWA 1:48.463 16 +2.222
22 10 C Ricardo TEIXEIRA ANG Dallara F307 Mugen-Honda 1:48.747 15 +2.506
23 69 I Dominick MUERMANS NED Dallara F306 Opel-Spiess 1:49.004 16 +2.763
24 38 N Hamad AL FARDAN BHR Dallara F304 Mugen-Honda 1:49.026 14 +2.785
25 55 N Michael MEADOWS GBR Dallara F304 Mugen-Honda 1:49.039 16 +2.798
26 33 N Juan Pablo GARCIA S. MEX Lola-Dome F106/4 Mugen-Honda 1:49.060 16 +2.819
27 63 I Federico GLORIOSO ITA Dallara F306 Mugen-Honda 1:49.199 16 +2.958
28 34 N Alex WATERS GBR Dallara F304 Mugen-Honda 1:49.400 11 +3.159
29 35 N Alistair JACKSON GBR Dallara F304 Mugen-Honda 1:49.674 16 +3.433
30 12 C Sean PETTERSON RSA Lola B06-30 Mugen-Honda 1:49.973 14 +3.732
31 37 N Viktor JENSEN ISL Dallara F304 Mugen-Honda 1:50.003 15 +3.762
32 36 N Albert COSTA ESP Dallara F304 Mugen-Honda 1:50.220 13 +3.979