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Worldseries by Renault 3.5 - Le Mans – Qualifying Debut poles for Winkelhock and Kubica

09.07.2005: Worldseries by Renault 3.5 - Le Mans – Qualifying Debut poles for Winkelhock and Kubica


Markus Winkelhock (Draco Multiracing USA) and Robert Kubica (Epsilon Euskadi) took their first pole positions of the season at Le Mans today. They will line up alongside Enrico Toccacelo (Victory Engineering) and Will Power (Carlin Motorsport) tomorrow.

Session 1

The track was still drenched when the first Formula Renault 3.5 series took to the track. Christian Montanari, Celso Miguez and Ivan Bellarosa very quickly got into difficulties. Robert Kubica (Epsilon Euskadi) then set the time to beat in 1'43''970. The Polish driver kept improving on this lap by lap until the best time was stolen away from him by Tristan Gommendy (KTR), who lapped in 1'41''511. Then, Markus Winkelhock (Draco Multiracing USA) and Daniel La Rosa (Interwetten.com) also moved ahead of Kubica. In a last-ditch effort, Winkelhock snatched the pole away from Gommendy in 1'41''109.

The second series started out with spins from Patrick Pilet, Colin Fleming, Giovanni Tedeschi and Tomas Kostka: the track was clearly still slippy. Adrian Valles, whose health has improved, was able to take part in qualifying. But he was only able to delight the fans, already present in large numbers, with a 360° spin at the Dunlop chicane! Midway through the session, Enrico Toccacelo (Victory Engineering) held the fastest time, 2''5 behind Gommendy. Then, Damien Pasini, Eric Salignon, Alx Danielsson, Andreas Zuber and Karun Chandhok were all involved in some spectacular incidents, meaning the session had to be interrupted. Toccacelo improved again in the closing minutes, but he failed to take pole. Will Power (Carlin Motorsport), Eric Salignon (Cram Compétition), Tomas Kostka (Victory Engineering) and Patrick Pilet (Jenzer Motorsport) qualified behind the Italian.

Session 2

On a dry track, the drivers were able to give their all for the second qualifying session. Will Power, who has been constantly on the up since Valencia, set the time to beat early on with a 1'24''034 lap. But, at only few tenths behind the Australian, Eric Salignon and Patrick Pilet were not going to let it lie. While in fourth, Enrico Toccacelo went off into the gravel trap, which did not exactly help his rivals to improve their own times! In the final seconds, Colin Fleming snatched third place from his teammate Patrick Pilet while Power retained his advantage over Salignon.

In the opening minutes of the second series, it was Felix Porteiro (Epsilon Euskadi) who was fastest. But his teammate Robert Kubica was quick to reply, though he was unable to better Power's time. Winkelhock then came into the pits to change onto fresh tyres before going after his second pole. Two minutes from the close, Kubica put in a final push and improved on Power's time three times in succession. Robert took his first pole of the season in 1'23''665. At the chequered flag, Felix Porteiro went better than both Markus Winkelhock and Tristan Gommendy, who managed to move ahead of Christian Montanari at the wire.

Markus Winkelhock: «I have been unlucky since the start of the season. I have always been there or thereabouts but have only been in the points once so far. I'm pretty far adrift in the Championship, so this pole position will do me good. I hope I will be able to turn it into real points with a good result.»

Robert Kubica: «This morning's session was a total lottery with so many yellow flags out. I am obviously happy to have bagged this pole as it earns me an additional point. But so much can happen in such a long race that it's nothing decisive.»

- Blanca de Foronda -

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/worldseries-by-renault-3.5-le-mans-lemans-winkelhock-kubica-epsilon-euskadi-draco-multiracing-toccacelo-victory-ktr-montanari-porteiro---3547.html

09.07.2005 / MaP

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