Adriano Buzaid claimed his and T-Sport's maiden British Formula 3 pole position by topping the times during a sodden second qualifying session at Spa this morning.
The track dried slowly throughout the session and, after T-Sport had traded times with leading F3 Euro Series squad ART in the early part of qualifying, Brazilian racer Buzaid leapt to the top permanently with eight minutes of the half-hour session to run.
The ex-Formula Renault UK race winner, who also topped the times during wet first practice yesterday, set several laps good enough for pole during the latter part of the session and was particularly rapid through the long middle sector. His 2m37.214s best eventually took the top spot by more than six tenths of a second from ART's reigning Masters of F3 winner Valtteri Bottas.
"This was a great effort from the team," said a jubilant Buzaid afterwards, having praised the balance of his Dallara through sector two and the strength of his VW engine. "Yellow flags came on the last four laps and I wanted to push more because I had the car, the speed was there and the track was drying, but I needed to slow down. I though somebody might go quicker and I was thinking 'no, please!' but God always has a plan!"
Euro Series points leader Jules Bianchi found himself mired in the lower reaches of the top 10 in the latter part of qualifying, but a last-gasp improvement vaulted him to the head of row three, seven tenths shy of pole.
British Championship leader Daniel Ricciardo (Carlin) set fourth fastest time, four tenths further back, while Buzaid's T-Sport team-mate Wayne Boyd recovered from a heavy crash in first qualifying to set fifth fastest time. Ex-Euro Series ace Renger van der Zande rounded out the top six for Hitech Racing.
Van der Zande's title-challenging team-mate Walter Grubmuller finished up a lowly 12th, 3.275s off the pace, while the star of yesterday's session Hywel Lloyd, who set fourth fastest time in Q1, struggled this morning and ended up 19th fastest.
National Class points leader Daniel McKenzie (Fortec) took the class pole in 15th overall while fellow National Class racer Max Snegirev (West-Tec) did not appear after crashing his Dallara heavily in first qualifying yesterday.
Pos Driver Team Car Time
1. Adriano Buzaid T-Sport D/V 2m37.214s
2. Valtteri Bottas ART D/M 2m37.847s
3. Jules Bianchi ART D/M 2m37.931s
4. Daniel Ricciardo Carlin D/V 2m38.476s
5. Wayne Boyd T-Sport D/V 2m38.870s
6. Renger van der Zande Hitech D/M 2m38.945s
7. Carlos Huertas Double R D/M 2m39.206s
8. Riki Christodoulou Fortec D/M 2m39.990s
9. Henry Arundel Carlin D/V 2m40.013s
10. Esteban Gutierrez ART D/M 2m40.053s
11. Jake Rozenzweig Carlin D/V 2m40.454s
12. Walter Grubmuller Hitech D/M 2m40.489s
13. Jay Bridger Litespeed M/H 2m40.648s
14. Max Chilton Carlin D/V 2m40.787s
15. Daniel McKenzie Fortec D/H 2m41.354s
16. Daisuke Nakajima Double R D/M 2m41.481s
17. Gabriel Dias T-Sport D/H 2m42.193s
18. Stephane Richelmi Barazi-Epsilon D/M 2m42.606s
19. Hywel Lloyd CF Racing D/H 2m42.650s
20. Nico Marroc Racing Experience D/M 2m42.665s
21. Victor Garcia Fortec D/M 2m42.753s
22. Philip Major Carlin D/V 2m43.195s
23. Victor Correa Litespeed S/H 2m46.865s
24. Kevin Chen Double R D/M 2m50.592s