The second qualifying session of the Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine brought the challenge to the track Sunday morning at the Red Bull Ring. The drivers entered the track in two groups, in reverse order compared to Saturday’s qualifying. The pole position for Race 2 was claimed by French driver Alessandro Giusti from G4 Racing. This marks Giusti’s second pole in the series, following his first victory at Paul Ricard before the summer break. Yesterday was already a favorable day for the driver, as he topped his group and finished Race 1 on the podium. With an excellent performance in qualifying, the Frenchman has created a perfect opportunity to add to his victories in the Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine.
Group B hit the track first this morning. Lap times started to drop in the second half of the session, with series newcomer Bruno Del Pino from MP Motorsport among the early leaders. Then, Trident’s Nikhil Bohra took the lead, with Kas Haverkort from Van Amersfoort Racing and Giusti behind. Mexican driver Santiago Ramos from RPM then set the fastest lap, taking the lead. Ramos’s time was further improved at the checkered flag, but the game was decided only in the final lap when Alessandro Giusti secured pole position with a time of 1’26.688, just 18 thousandths of a second ahead of Ramos. Third was Norwegian driver Martinius Stenshorne from R-ace GP, 0.153 seconds behind. Coming in fourth was Nikhil Bohra, just 0.185 seconds behind, ahead of Kas Haverkort by just one thousandth of a second, with the top 5 drivers all within 2 tenths of a second.
In the Group A qualifying, everyone lined up behind Antonelli, with none of the drivers willing to attempt the flying lap first, risking an advantage for their rivals. In this session, there was also an off-track excursion by French driver Sami Meguetounif from MP Motorsport, who immediately managed to get back on track. Maya Weug also encountered problems as she went off track after contact with the kerb. Her car ended up against the barriers, requiring the intervention of the marshals to rejoin the session. A red flag was displayed briefly to allow for a quick recovery. The drivers returned to the track with limited opportunities to complete a strong lap.
Macéo Capietto, French driver from RPM, immediately battled with Andrea Kimi Antonelli, driver from PREMA Racing, for the top spot in qualifying. The Italian temporarily secured the pole position with a time of 1’26.593. However, his lap was canceled due to a track limits violation. Antonelli still held the top spot in Group A, finishing the qualifying session first with a time of 1’26.775. He was followed by Meguetounif, second by 0.103 seconds, French driver Owen Tangavelou from Team Trident in third, 0.167 seconds behind, Tim Tramnitz in fourth by 0.170 seconds, and Rafael Camara in fifth by 0.300 seconds. During the Group A session, there was also contact between Hadrien David from Monolite Racing and Michael Belov from G4 Racing, with the latter forced to pit for damage inspection. David received a grid penalty of 2 positions. Same penalty also for Giovanni Maschio, Monolite Racing driver, who found himself on the way of Belov’s push lap.
Alessandro Giusti: “The car feels as good as yesterday, it was just better driving from me. Some quite few things made us go on pole, so I feel good. It was the first session of the morning, so the track was quite cold. At the start of the session, I was making some mistakes, finding my limits, and then at the last lap I pulled this lap to do the pole. Now we are starting on a good grid position, with better traction and grip, we have a good pace, we will try to win this race of course.”
Andrea Kimi Antonelli: “It was a really crazy session I would say, not many laps, just a couple. Already from the warm up was quite difficult to get the temperature and the red flag didn’t help at all. Going out and having to push straight away, position was not the best, also tyres were not into temperature, so it was very hard to get a lap. I’m sorry for the mistake to my Team, because we could have got pole, but at the end, we still managed to get P1 in the group. I’m happy for that, Starting P2 for today’s race, I think we could achieve a good result. We will try to get a good start and try to make the move in the first lap and see what we can do.”