Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 - Zolder - Qualifying
Groppi straight in at number 1!
A last minute starter for this, the first 2006 Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 event, Laurent Groppi (Graff Racing) took pole position ahead of the New Zealander Chris Van Der Drift (JD Motorsport). Bertrand Baguette (Epsilon Euskadi), racing on home soil, will be lying in wait, ready to take advantage of the slightest mistake from either of the front two!
There is a new qualifying format for 2006 in Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0, with a single 40-minute session during which drivers can complete up to a maximum of eight laps. The result of this session determines the start grid for the first race. The start grid for the second race will be based on the quickest laps set in race 1.
It was not until midway through the session that the top drivers came out onto the track. Carlo Van Dam (SG Formula) and Dani Clos (Jenzer Motorsport) took the top two times. Johan Charpilienne (SL Formula Racing), after getting his first sight of the Zolder circuit in Thursday and Friday’s collective testing, then went to the top of the timesheets with eight minutes to go in the session.
Van Dam responded just seconds later, as Bertrand Baguette (Epsilon Euskadi) and Frederico Muggia (BVM Racing) headed out onto the track.
It was already game over, however, for Brendon Hartley (Motorsport Arena), who broke down, and Henkie Waldschmidt (Prema Power Team), who got stuck in the gravel trap.
Chris Van Der Drift (JD Motorsport) kept up the impressive form he showed in collective testing by taking provisional pole after 21 minutes of the session. Bertrand Baguette, Atte Mustonen (Koiranen Bros) and Laurent Groppi (Graff Racing) made a series of attempts to dislodge the New Zealander, but pole position looked to be his with a solid 3/10ths advantage.
Then Bertrand Baguette moved to within 25/1000ths of Van Der Drift’s time with only six minutes left in the session. Laurent Groppi grabbed pole from Van Der Drift, who responded immediately, moving clear of his rivals on his next lap with a time of 1’27’’372.
Behind Groppi and Van Der Drift, the second row will consist of Baguette and Kasper Andersen (JD Motorsport), who stole 4th place from Mustonen right at the death. Mustonen will therefore start on the third row, alongside Dani Clos.
They are followed by Van Dam, Muggia and trio of French drivers: Tom Dillmann (SG Formula), Mathieu Arzeno (Graff Racing) and Johan Charpilienne.
Filipe Albuquerque (13th), Adrian Zaugg (16th) and Junior Strous (17th) were however disappointed with their qualifying results as they will now have to make their way through the field if they are to finish among the leaders!
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Qualifying - Groppi straight in at number 1!
Race 1 - Nice one, Groppi!
Race 2 - Groppi strikes again!
Classifications from ZolderQualifying