Phil Hill claimed pole position for the opening Formula Renault Northern European Cup (NEC) race at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, setting up a blockbuster double-header as the battle for the championship lead sits finely poised.
A late improvement to 2:21.277s on his penultimate tour of the 4.3 mile circuit put the German into top spot ahead of team mate and compatriot Doureid Ghattas, making it an all-Anders Motorsport front row.
Gabriel Gandulia was forced to settle for third in the #5 R-ace GP machine after having his best time disallowed for infringing track limits on the exit of Les Combes, but will start the final race in the Ardennes Forest from pole position courtesy of his qualifying effort on Thursday.
Where the championship is concerned, Ghattas and Gandulia currently lead the way on 48 points apiece, with Hill just six points further back as the battle intensifies heading toward the summer break.
Sharon Scolari continued to improve and stands ready in the wings to capitalise from any mistake ahead as the entire field chase their maiden victories in the highly-competitive single make category.
Should the #77 reach the podium this weekend, she will make history as the first female racer to score a podium in the NEC’s 13 years of competition.
The opening race of the weekend is scheduled to get underway at 16:05 CEST.
Phil Hill (Anders Motorsport) said, “I’m very happy. Obviously I’d like to have gone faster, but at least I managed to keep one Eurocup driver behind me which was good. We were decently faster than any other NEC driver which is a positive.
“The car wasn’t too good yesterday and there were a few driving mistakes as well, it was difficult, but today we’ve managed to get an improved position. I think we’re in for two good races, I’m hopeful of making up a few more positions versus the Eurocup drivers and having some good fights on circuit with them.”
Doureid Ghattas (Anders Motorsport) said, “This session was a lot more slippery because the circuit is warmer, we’ll have to see what we can do for the race, but I’m looking forward to both races and will do my best from the front row in each of them.
“I’m sure the races will be close, but I’m hoping for some action. The gap to the Eurocup drivers is just a little bit more experience, maybe we’re not on the same level but we’re not far away.”
Gabriel Gandulia (R-ace GP) said, “It wasn’t a good session for me, I had my fastest lap removed for track limits at Turn 9, then I made a mistake on another lap and eventually time was against us to improve.
“Having said that, this isn’t a difficult circuit on which to overtake, so I’m confident we can make some progress in the races and have some good battles with the other NEC drivers.”