WSbR Merhi and Bottas the winning duo

Le Mans – Qualifying

Just as at the Nürburgring, Roberto Merhi (Epsilon Euskadi) and Valtteri Bottas (Motopark Academy) took the two pole positions up for grabs. With the track drying out by the minute, it all went down to the very last lap of the SuperPole. Andrea Caldarelli (SG Formula) had a successful time, qualifying in second place for both the weekend's races.

Group A

The track was still wet, but conditions were improving when the first group got going. Daniel Ricciardo (SG Formula), then Mathieu Arzeno (Epsilon Sport), were the first to lead the race for pole, and the pace quickened with each lap. In the dying moments of the session, Tobias Hegewald (Motopark Academy) claimed the honours with a time of 1'54''835, ahead of Daniel Ricciardo and Dean Smith (Fortec Motorsport).

Group B

In Group B, Jean-Éric Vergne (SG Formula) took an early lead, trailed by Andrea Caldarelli (SG Formula), Daniel Zampieri (BVM Minardi) and Roberto Merhi (Epsilon Euskadi). Caldarelli then moved up into provisional pole position, but in front of his home crowd, Jean-Éric Vergne looked in determined mood and reclaimed the lead just before the chequered flag with a time of 1'54''569. Caldarelli was second, and Zampieri third.

SuperPole

Wet tyres or slicks? That was the tough decision facing the 24 qualified drivers as they lined up for the SuperPole. Only César Ramos (BVM Minardi Team) and Adrian Quaiffe-Hobbs (BVM Minardi Team) opted for slicks from the off. Most of the field followed suit one lap later.

Ramos immediately showed that slicks were the right choice, grabbing provisional pole position. But it was the end of the session that proved decisive.

The Motopark Academy drivers picked up the pace with six minutes to go. First Tobias Hegewald, then Valtteri Bottas took the lead. The Finn was joined in pole position by Richard Singleton – who was credited with exactly the same time – before Daniel Ricciardo moved ahead of them both.

Ricciardo and Bottas jostled for first position, swapping places every lap but, as predicted, it all came down to the last. With seconds to go, Roberto Merhi and Andrea Caldarelli produced the goods to finish first and second respectively. Merhi thus claims his second pole position of the season with a time of 1'37''860. As at the Nürburgring, Valtteri Bottas will start from pole in race two.

Roberto Merhi: I gave it my all on the last two laps. I made a slight error at my first attempt, then on the last lap I overtook another driver. But I got pole anyway! I need to win the first race, because I'm only starting from fifth on Sunday, which will make things more difficult.

Valtteri Bottas: I got caught up in the traffic, which was a shame because I could have got both pole positions. Like at the Nürburgring, I'll have to be wary of Merhi!

POS NUMBER DRIVER TEAM LAP TIME GAP_FIRST KPH LAPS  1 8 Roberto MERHI EPSILON EUSKADI 2 10 1:37.860 - 153.8 10   2 14 Andrea CALDARELLI SG FORMULA 10 1:38.152 +0.292 153.3 10   3 11 Valtteri BOTTAS MOTOPARK ACADEMY 8 1:38.185 +0.325 153.3 9   4 25 Cesar RAMOS BVM MINARDI TEAM 11 1:38.209 +0.349 153.2 12   5 12 Daniel RICCIARDO SG FORMULA 10 1:38.448 +0.588 152.9 11   6 7 Albert COSTA EPSILON EUSKADI 2 10 1:38.602 +0.742 152.6 10   7 34 Mathieu ARZENO EPSILON SPORT 9 1:38.632 +0.772 152.6 10   8 22 Kuba GIERMAZIAK TEAM MOTOPARK 9 1:38.837 +0.977 152.3 11   9 10 Tobias HEGEWALD MOTOPARK ACADEMY 8 1:38.865 +1.005 152.2 9   10 15 Alexander SIMS SG FORMULA 10 1:38.944 +1.084 152.1 11   11 41 Dean SMITH FORTEC MOTORSPORT 10 1:38.951 +1.091 152.1 11   12 6 Jean Eric VERGNE SG DRIVERS PROJECT 10 1:38.988 +1.128 152.0 11   13 36 Richard SINGLETON HITECH JUNIOR TEAM 8 1:39.068 +1.208 151.9 9   14 5  Anton NEBILITSKYI SG DRIVERS PROJECT 9 1:39.153 +1.293 151.8 10   15 9 Carlos MUÑOZ EPSILON EUSKADI 2 9 1:39.181 +1.321 151.7 9   16 24 Daniel ZAMPIERI BVM MINARDI TEAM 9 1:39.391 +1.531 151.4 10   17 33 Bastien BORGET EPSILON SPORT 10 1:39.407 +1.547 151.4 11   18 43 Gabriel DIAS FORTEC COMPETITION 8 1:39.545 +1.685 151.2 9   19 38 Luciano BACHETA HITECH JUNIOR RACING 9 1:39.647 +1.787 151.0 10   20 17 Vasiliauskas KAZIMIERAS PREMA POWERTEAM 8 1:40.111 +2.251 150.3 11   21 4 Ramez AZZAM SG DRIVERS PROJECT 9 1:40.225 +2.365 150.1 10   22 26 Adrian QUAIFE-HOBBS BVM MINARDI TEAM 9 1:40.330 +2.470 150.0 11   23 18 Patrick REITERER PREMA POWERTEAM 10 1:40.447 +2.587 149.8 11   24 44 Alex MORGAN FORTEC COMPETITION 8 1:40.457 +2.597 149.8 10  

POS NUMBER DRIVER TEAM TIME GAP_FIRST GAP_PREVIOUS  1 11 Valtteri BOTTAS MOTOPARK ACADEMY 1:38.780 - -   2 14 Andrea CALDARELLI SG FORMULA 1:42.149 +0.012 +0.012   3 12 Daniel RICCIARDO SG FORMULA 1:38.562 +0.022 +0.010   4 7 Albert COSTA EPSILON EUSKADI 2 1:39.473 +0.193 +0.171   5 8 Roberto MERHI EPSILON EUSKADI 2 1:38.185 +0.302 +0.109   6 22 Kuba GIERMAZIAK TEAM MOTOPARK 1:38.860 +0.409 +0.107   7 25 Cesar RAMOS BVM MINARDI TEAM 1:38.905 +0.454 +0.045   8 41 Dean SMITH FORTEC MOTORSPORT 1:39.101 +0.650 +0.196   9 34 Mathieu ARZENO EPSILON SPORT 1:39.868 +0.681 +0.031   10 6 Jean Eric VERGNE SG DRIVERS PROJECT 1:40.447 +0.840 +0.159   11 15 Alexander SIMS SG FORMULA 1:39.902 +0.927 +0.087   12 24 Daniel ZAMPIERI BVM MINARDI TEAM 1:40.490 +1.158 +0.231   13 33 Bastien BORGET EPSILON SPORT 1:39.683 +1.232 +0.074   14 43 Gabriel DIAS FORTEC COMPETITION 1:40.014 +1.235 +0.003   15 10 Tobias HEGEWALD MOTOPARK ACADEMY 1:39.711 +1.260 +0.025   16 5  Anton NEBILITSKYI SG DRIVERS PROJECT 1:39.951 +1.272 +0.012   17 36 Richard SINGLETON HITECH JUNIOR TEAM 1:39.768 +1.317 +0.045   18 38 Luciano BACHETA HITECH JUNIOR RACING 1:40.272 +1.793 +0.476   19 9 Carlos MUÑOZ EPSILON EUSKADI 2 1:40.715 +1.933 +0.140   20 26 Adrian QUAIFE-HOBBS BVM MINARDI TEAM 1:40.550 +2.099 +0.166   21 4 Ramez AZZAM SG DRIVERS PROJECT 1:41.381 +2.140 +0.041   22 18 Patrick REITERER PREMA POWERTEAM 1:40.796 +2.345 +0.205   23 44 Alex MORGAN FORTEC COMPETITION 1:41.088 +2.637 +0.292   24 17 Vasiliauskas KAZIMIERAS PREMA POWERTEAM 1:41.946 +3.020 +0.383