Historic pole for Romain Fournillier at Tours Speedway
08.07.2012: Photo Romain Fournillier
For the first time in NASCAR history drivers took to a wet oval for qualifying in which Romain
Photo Romain Fournillier
For the first time in NASCAR history drivers took to a wet oval for qualifying in which Romain Fournillier secured pole position for the Elite Super Final that will be held at 19:45 tonight. That same honour in the Open class went to Vincent Gonneau, although the race will be long and remains wide open.
Soon after the Tours Exhibition Centre opened its doors, spectators flocked around the Speedway to watch EURO-RACECAR NASCAR Touring Series qualifying. That highlight was accompanied by another for the drivers in the form of a wet circuit that dried throughout the session, suggesting that the last to post a time would take pole.
Fournillier (#11 OverDrive) had other ideas though and moved to the top of the timesheets thanks to a daring lap of 17.702secs (122.020km/h) set on slick tyres.
“It's fantastic but still hasn’t sunk in,” he said. “Until the race starts I will be keeping my feet on the ground. I was in my own bubble during the run, remaining calm and not panicking. It paid off and I'm really happy.”
‘Romain’ proved the name of choice today after Romain Iannetta (#25 Orhès Competition) joined Fournillier on the front row ahead of Javier Villa (#64 Gonneau Racing), Ander Vilarino (#2 TFT-Banco Santander) and Yvan Muller (#100 Still Racing-Convergence) who was the best placed of the Guest drivers around Tours Speedway.
Like Fournillier, Carole Perrin gambled on slicks and moved up to sixth place ahead of Ben Kennedy (#96 TFT), Eric Hélary (#14 JDC Still Racing-Finance), Vincent Gonneau (#15 Gonneau Racing) and Antoine Lioen (#05 Rapido Racing) who rounded out the top 10.
Photo Javier Villa and Yvan Muller
In the Open Division, Vincent Gonneau (#15 Gonneau Racing) – competing in both classes – qualified ahead of his nearest rival Philippe Marie (#88 Orhès Competition) by 0.520sec (122.725 km/h).
“It's been good fun,” he said. “With so many challenges over this 600-metre track it was a genuine pole. The margin is important and I don’t think it will be necessary to find the ultimate limit in the race. With my set-up the car eats up the track’s bumps and everything is fine.”
The Open schedule differs to that of the Elite’s with its competitors having to progress through the semi-finals to get into the final at 16:40 local time this evening.
Frederick Johais (#33 OverDrive) completed the top three ahead of Gerald Cormon (#25 Orhès Competition), Alain Grand (#11 OverDrive-McDonald's), Tanguy Ide (#44 Orhès Competition), Jerome Laurin (#55 Pole Position 81), Spanish female racer Zihara Esteban (#42 Autosport 42), Pascal Renaudat (Gonneau Racing) and Joaquin Gabarrón (#05 Rapido Racing).
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