After a 17-year absence, Belgium’s Zolder Circuit returned to the calendar. For most, this will be a new track and we expect a very mixed field. But for race one, it is Marco Wittmann who takes pole position.
It’s been a bit of a mixed bag in terms of weather thus far at Zolder. Rain dampened play during FP1 so times were a bit mixed. The track had dried out by FP2 and it was Philipp Eng who emerged quickest. “It was a fairly quiet and relaxed session”, said Eng having set a 1m22.476s. Following him in second and third place were WRT’s Jonathan Aberdein and Rene Rast, who claimed the fastest times during the damp first practice session.
Moving onto qualifying, in Marco Wittmann’s first run, he set the best time of 1m21.307s. A time which later proved to be enough for pole. Alongside him on the front row is Hockenheim race winner Rast. Though the gap between the two is only 0.042 seconds.
Lining up on row two we have a pair of BMW’s – Bruno Spengler in third and rookie Sheldon van der Linde in fourth. The young South African already impressed us in Hockenheim finishing race one in sixth place. Timo Glock and Eng start this afternoon’s race from fifth and sixth.
Rounding out the top ten are Audi’s Nico Mueller, BMW’s Joel Eriksson and Jamie Green in another Audi. It seems like BMW’s one-lap performance is a bit better than it’s rival Audi, as we have six BMW’s in the top ten.
Belgium based team WRT are starting from 11th and 12th, with Aston Martin’s Jake Dennis following in thirteenth. His best time of the session was a 1m22.215s, which is just a little under a second slower than Wittmann’s pole time. Fellow Aston Martin drivers Daniel Juncadella, Paul di Resta and Ferdinand Habsburg will start from the fifteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth position.
Problems arose for Mike Rockenfeller as he told over the radio he was having clutch issues. In his first run, he tried several times to beat his best time but didn’t manage to succeed. After pitting for fresh tyres for his second run, he was reported to the stewards for spinning wheels while being on the air jack but got off with a warning.
Update: Rockenfeller qualified 16th, but will start the race from 18th position following repairs after the qualifying session. This promotes Habsburg to 17th and di Resta to 16th.
Zolder is quite an old-school track, a bit like Zandvoort, with challenging and blind corners so it won’t be easy for the drivers. And with temperatures rising, tyre management is an important role as well. The race will start at 13:30 local time (12:30 UK time).