Klaas van Snelheid has become the first driver to take two pole positions in 2019, heading team mate Nathaniel Powers to lead to second Downton front row row lockout of the year.
Powers had looked to have secured a second pole in a row from Ruiz, but van Snelheid stole it with a last gasp effort, while further back in the pack Cheema will start their first race in Malaysia, having finally cleared Q1.
confined to his garage for majority of the session due to a hydraulic leak but managed to get a lap time in at the half way mark which was good enough for third.
Arden Hutchinson managed to get on top of his set up issues to qualify for the third race in a row, but his teammate Marcus Thunder was sliding everywhere and came only ninth. Dmytro Kovalenko was initially looking on course for Q2 but he couldn’t improve on his first lap time later in the session and fell to tenth. Carson Davenport lingered on the fringes of the top six throughout the session but was seventh for the third time in four races.
Nikolai Milkovich however put in a good last lap to jump to fifth and qualify a Cheema for the first time this season. Finn Schnyder was the fastest driver in sector 2 after the Meteors but couldn’t hook up a lap and finished eighth - meaning AMR will not feature in a race for the first time since they entered the series in 2014. This allowed Rodolfo de la Fuente to make it two Andromedas in the race, with the two Excelsiors rounding out the results again, Beckenbauer edging Ellington but still six tenths off the next car.
Full Q1 classification can be seen below:
Downton were the first top team to go out on track and Powers set the pace at the start, after a scruffy lap from van Snelheid. Franklin followed and while Tumo Kinnumen lagged behind, Ruiz was just a few hundredths off Powers and ahead of van Snelheid, while the opening laps from the Mathershaw's left them some way off the provisional pole time.
As temperatures rocketed during the session and times got slower, the top teams elected to remain in the pits until the dying minutes, resulting in a frantic five minute scramble. Mathershaw immediately showed their potential, both Adrien Simon and Allar Kangur blitzing the first two sectors, but they both suffered from drag on the penultimate straight and Simon could only better Kinnumen while Kangur was further behind. Zozulya was blocked by Hutchinson, and failed to improve, while neither Powers or Ruiz could either, with Perez only managing sixth. Behind them though, van Snelheid was lighting up the timing screens, and the last man across the line became the first and only man to dip into the 1:30's to secure pole position.
Johan Halvosen was another with limited running after his team North Star spent most of qualifying fixing his car. He did a typical Scandinavian job by keeping his head and delivering a fine lap for eighth. Lopez continued to show Meteor’s pace with ninth while a disgruntled Zozulya ended up tenth. Bergkvist and Beyer made it two Holmqvists in the top thirteen with eleventh and thirteenth respectively, separated by Gabriele Garcia who improved from yesterday but still complained about handling.
Ingram slipped back from yesterday, with James Vasquez fourteenth and Jean Mattson sixteenth, the younger Simon in between the pair after being told to take it easy on track. Hoskins was the highest of the new teams in seventeenth followed by two rows with both a Phoenix and a Lopez, two teams that benefited from last year’s chaos. Ocelot were 22nd and 23rd one year on from their maiden pole position, while de la Fuente, Milkovich and Hutchinson rounded off the grid.
Full Q2 classification can be seen below, along with tyre selections for the grid on race day:
The latest in other series