Wickens snatches last-gasp Race 1 pole
30 April 2011 – Carlin Motorsport's Robert Wickens secured pole position for the first race of the weekend at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on Saturday morning, with the Canadian driver posting a time of 2:02.855 in the dying moments of the session to steal the top spot. Albert Costa also made a late surge to claim second, while Jean-Eric Vergne had to settle for third place.
"Our car was exceptional and it’s great to have two Carlin drivers in the top three," Wickens commented after the 30-minute qualifying session. "I was behind Jean-Eric and I took advantage of his slipstream especially in sector three. It’s another pole for me and now I have to turn it into a victory."
Despite the calm weather conditions, the Belgian venue played host to some drama in the closing stages of Qualifying 1. Daniel Ricciardo’s session came to a premature end after completing his sixth lap, as he span to a halt and brought out a late red flag. There was another incident just minutes after the restart, with André Negrão losing control of his car en route to the gravel trap.
As the session got back underway for a final time, personal best efforts from Wickens and EPIC Racing’s Costa saw them jump ahead of early pace setters Ricciardo and Vergne. Ricciardo eventually slipped back to sixth when his fastest time was cancelled for causing the red flag, allowing Nelson Panciatici and Brendon Hartley to claim fourth and fifth respectively.
Daniil Move was next up in seventh, just over a tenth ahead of Spain’s Sergio Canamasas. Chris van der Drift claimed a promising ninth place as he continues to make progress on his return to motorsport, with Jan Charouz the last man inside the top ten. Alexander Rossi could only manage 11th in a disappointing qualifying session for the American.
Saturday's Race 1 begins at 12:30pm local time (BST +1)