Charles Milesi continued his recent run of form to claim pole position for the opening Formula Renault Northern European Cup (NEC) race at Autodromo Nazionale di Monza this afternoon.
The R-ace GP clocked a 1:49.515s – the quickest time of the weekend around the 3.6 mile amphitheatre of speed so far – to edge out home hero Lorenzo Colombo (JD Motorsport) by three tenths of a second.
It proved another strong session for the French outfit, with Logan Sargeant heading up the second row alongside Renault Sport Academy racer Max Fewtrell. Victor Martins – also on the manufacturer’s young driver programme – was fifth.
Tech1 Racing demonstrated their front-running pace for the majority of the session, with Frank Bird sixth, but only through some late improvements. The Briton showcased impressive pace and still stands poised to strike from the third row in the opening contest.
Team-mate Thomas Neubauer shares the fourth row with the final R-ace GP machine of Gabriel Gandulia, the Argentine qualifying highest of the full-season entries.
Phil Hill rewarded Anders Motorsport for repairing the #6 machine with a top-ten start in ninth, out-qualifying team-mate Doureid Ghattas.
ScoRace Team’s Sharon Scolari and Cram Motorsport’s Zichao Wang set their best times of the weekend thus far respectively, with both aiming to capitalise on any mistakes from those ahead when the opening race gets underway at 15:55 CEST.
Charles Milesi (#3) said, “It was a good moment. At the beginning I was stuck in traffic, so it wasn’t ideal. After I managed to find a gap I tried to improve every lap – I made a small mistake into the second chicane but it wasn’t too bad.
“I’m delighted with pole position and I need to thank R-ace GP for providing a great car.
“For sure, we have a chance for a victory. I’ll try to get a good start and then set about establishing a gap, because I think Colombo will have an opportunity otherwise with the tow.”
Lorenzo Colombo (#61) said, “I think I started to push earlier than the others and I was quicker at the beginning. I think that meant my tyres went before the others, that was my mistake, because the track was getting better with every lap. Maybe for qualifying tomorrow we’ll have to change our strategy.
“We tested something new on the car and I need to get more confidence with it. Now we have to focus on the race, and from P2 I think we can do something big – the minimum objective is to reach the podium, and maybe we can claim the victory.
“If there is the possibility to fight with the pole man [Milesi], maybe I will try to follow him and prepare for the next qualifying session, because I think he’s taking different lines to me.”
Logan Sargeant (#2) said, “It’s good to be in the top three, as always. We started the session well and set the quickest time in the early stages of the session, and then we were just chipping away at it and getting a bit faster with each lap.
“I came across some traffic on my best lap so I think that hindered my pace a little bit and we weren’t able to quite show our full potential.
“The mindset going into the first race is full attack, as always. The start is a great chance and a good opportunity to make some moves, and then after that it’s a case of getting the slipstream and then overtaking into the big braking zones.”