06 Apr Vandoorne takes first pole of the season
6th April 2013, Monza – The opening round of the Formula Renault 3.5, part of the World Series by Renault, saw Fortec Motorsports Stoffel Vandoorne take his first pole of the series with a time of 1:45.416. Team-mate Oli Webb also had a strong start to his season, posting the tenth quickest time of the session with a 1:48.134.
Rain the night before caused a damp track in the first qualifying session of 2013 for the Formula Renault 3.5 series. Fortec men Vandoorne and Webb showed great pace right from the start, with Webb P6 and Vandoorne P11 just 5-minutes into the session and both on wet tyres.
21-year-old Vandoorne, 2012 FR2.0 Eurocup champion, was soon storming up the time-sheets but as the track seemed to be drying out tyre choices became critical. As other drivers came in for slicks Vandoorne, who had originally come in for slicks, decided to stick with wets for the final 10-minutes of the session -proving it was the right choice as his times improved.
A red flag saw the session end 2-minutes early and Vandoorne impressively take his first ever Formula Renault 3.5 pole. Webb, who previously raced with Fortec in the 2011 British F3, had a sterling start to his FR3.5 campaign with a top 10 qualifying position, enabling the British driver to challenge from the front of the large 26-car grid in this afternoons race.
Vandoorne, who was on the podium eleven times on his way to title glory in 2012, commented: “This is the best start to the season I’ve ever had – to have pole position first time is a great achievement. The team have worked really hard and I’m glad I can do this for them. Our tyre choices were critical and we made the right choice!”
The first race of the FR3.5 season starts this afternoon at 13.00 local time.