TEAM NEWS: Carlin’s Maro Engel took pole position for race two at Rockingham today, after a dominant performance around the Northamptonshire track. Having taken the first win of the season at Oulton Park in April, the 22 year-old German is looking good to finish the season as he started it – with a race win. Team mate and top rookie Sam Bird was the next Carlin driver in third place, missing out a front row spot by just 0.005 of a second.
In wet conditions, qualifying for race one was a rather chaotic affair, with two red flags early on preventing the Carlin drivers from setting a flying lap. As the track dried out, the team switched to slick tyres, but traffic towards the end of the session made qualifying a lottery. Mario Moraes timed his lap to perfection to find a clear piece of track and heads the Carlin squad taking fourth on the grid, with Sam Bird in sixth, Maro Engel ninth, Niall Breen 11th and Alberto Valerio 12th.
Benefiting from a drying track, Carlin drivers Maro Engel and Sam Bird were able to show their true pace in second qualifying. After a dominant performance, Engel takes his fourth pole position of the season, while Sam Bird lines up third. Alberto Valerio is the next Carlin driver in ninth, while Breen while line up 11th and Mario Moraes 15th.
Speaking about his qualifying performance, Maro Engel said, “First qualifying was quite frustrating. The track was drying quite quickly towards the end and it was clear that we had to complete a flying lap as late as possible to get the best time. Unfortunately I came across a lot of slow traffic on my last lap which really hurt me.
“Thankfully the track had dried out for the second qualifying session and it was just a case of the fastest car taking pole. It’s very satisfying to take pole position for the last race of the season, we’ve been quick here in testing and I’m pleased that this has been reflected this afternoon. We’ll see what the weather does tomorrow, but we’ll be pushing to make up places in the first race and for the win in race two.”
Team boss Trevor Carlin added, “Qualifying for race one was something of a lottery, and unfortunately a couple of our drivers were hit by traffic in a last minute dash for the line. However, Mario did a great job and is in a good shape for his first podium of the season. Maro did a great job in second qualifying; it’s great to finish the season as we started it – with a pole position. Hopefully Maro will be able to add to that by taking the last win of the season as well as the first.”
The team will be back on track for race one tomorrow at 11.35 followed by the final race of the season at 14.55.