ISR's Daniel Ricciardo achieved his second consecutive Monaco World Series by Renault pole position during qualifying in the principality this morning.
To minimize congestion, qualifying was split into two 25 minute sessions, and the Australian's time of 1m26.427s in the opening A group edged out Gravity-Charouz Racing's Brendon Hartley's B group benchmark of 1m26.464s. Kiwi Hartley, who arguably staged the drive of the race for Tech 1 Racing last year, was left disappointed to miss out on pole after being drawn in theoretically the faster session.
"As a racing driver you always want more and when you are fastest you want to be faster by a greater margin," said Hartley. "I had traffic on my three fastest laps, and even on my last lap I was obliged to pit because of traffic. I know I shouldn't be upset starting on the front row, but inside the cockpit I was going a little bit crazy."
Robert Wickens will start third for Carlin. The Canadian was fastest for the majority of the first session before Ricciardo's time, leading teammate Jean-Eric Vergne and Mofaz Racing's Jake Rosenzweig, whose good run would end when he hit the barriers at Tabac.
The season's only double winner, Kevin Korjus, jumped up to third with a late effort, ahead of KMP Racing's Nelson Panciatici.
Korjus's Tech 1 Racing teammate and fellow rookie Arthur Pic caused an upset by demoting championship leader Vergne to the sixth row for Sunday's race.
"I think the performance of the car was there," said Vergne. "Obviously it is fun being in Monaco but we still have to do a job and the same points are on offer as any other race. Starting from 12th we have to accept this is going to be one race where I will drop some points to my rivals in the championship."
Motorland winner Alexander Rossi set the early B group pace for Fortec from KMP Racing's Anton Nebylitskiy and Hartley.
In fourth spot, Epic Racing's Albert Costa was lucky to avoid a more serious accident when he spun on the entry to Massanet. The Spaniard tapped the guardrail with the rear of his car, sustaining only slight damage. Costa salvaged third in his group.
Hartley found a relatively clear lap to secure his place on the front row of tomorrow's race with seconds to spare. Rossi, second in the points standings, will join Wickens on the second row.
In other incidents, Pons Racing's Oliver Webb damaged his left-rear wheel following contact with the barriers at Portier and Sergio Canamasas damaged his BVM Target car on the exit of Ste Devote.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap
1. Daniel Ricciardo ISR 1m26.427s
2. Robert Wickens Carlin 1m27.075s + 0.648s
3. Kevin Korjus Tech 1 1m27.098s + 0.671s
4. Nelson Panciatici KMP 1m27.288s + 0.861s
5. Arthur Pic Tech 1 1m27.487s + 1.060s
6. Jean-Eric Vergne Carlin 1m27.537s + 1.110s
7. Jake Rosenzweig Mofaz 1m27.658s + 1.231s
8. Andre Negrao Draco 1m27.930s + 1.503s
9. Daniel Zampieri BVM Target 1m28.430s + 2.003s
10. Nathanael Berthon ISR 1m28.447s + 2.020s
11. Sergio Canamasas BVM Target 1m28.536s + 2.109s
12. Cesar Ramos Fortec 1m28.697s + 2.270s
13. Daniel de Jong Comtec 1m30.144s + 3.717s
Pos Driver Team Time Gap
1. Brendon Hartley Gravity-Charouz 1m26.464s
2. Alexander Rossi Fortec 1m26.469s + 0.005s
3. Albert Costa Epic 1m26.743s + 0.279s
4. Jan Charouz Gravity-Charouz 1m26.816s + 0.352s
5. Anton Nebylitskiy KMP 1m27.176s + 0.712s
6. Adrien Tambay Pons 1m27.458s + 0.994s
7. Walter Grubmuller P1 1m27.611s + 1.147s
8. Chris van der Drift Mofaz 1m27.757s + 1.293s
9. Sten Pentus Epic 1m27.783s + 1.319s
10. Daniil Move P1 1m27.871s + 1.407s
11. Stephane Richelmi Draco 1m28.017s + 1.553s
12. Oliver Webb Pons 1m28.824s + 2.360s
13. Daniel McKenzie Comtec 1m29.152s + 2.688s
Pos Driver Team
1. Daniel Ricciardo ISR
2. Brendon Hartley Gravity-Charouz
3. Robert Wickens Carlin
4. Alexander Rossi Fortec
5. Kevin Korjus Tech 1
6. Albert Costa Epic
7. Nelson Panciatici KMP
8. Jan Charouz Gravity-Charouz
9. Arthur Pic Tech 1
10. Anton Nebilitskiy KMP
11. Jean-Eric Vergne Carlin
12. Adrien Tambay Pons
13. Jake Rosenzweig Mofaz
14. Walter Grubmüller P1
15. Andre Negrao Draco
16. Chris van der Drift Mofaz
17. Daniel Zampieri BVM Target
18. Sten Pentus Epic
19. Nathanael Berthon ISR
20. Daniil Move P1
21. Sergio Canamasas BVM Target
22. Stephane Richelmi Draco
23. Cesar Ramos Fortec
24. Oliver Webb Pons
25. Daniel de Jong Comtec
26. Daniel McKenzie Comtec