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Russell secures pole in frantic Snetterton qualifying

Saturday, October 25 2014

Lanan Racing's George Russell has claimed pole position for this morning's first BRDC F4 race of the weekend, in a fascinating session held under clear blue skies, but with a wet track surface.

Diego Menchaca claimed his best qualifying performance of the year with second, ahead of Will Palmer and Gaetano di Mauro. Palmer will drop 10 places on the grid though after his incident with Sennan Fielding at Donington Park. Charlie Eastwood was fifth fastest for Douglas Motorsport ahead of Hillspeed's Rahul Mayer. 

In his first BRDC F4 qualifying session, Piers Hickin claimed an impressive seventh quickest time for Chris Dittmann Racing, ahead of championship challenger Raoul Hyman. Hyman also has a 10-place grid penalty after his incident at Donington Park. Championship leader Arjun Maini was only ninth fastest with his team mate Struan Moore 10th.

The six championship contenders all started the session on dry tyres, while the remaining runners opted for wets.

After a handful of laps, most drivers opted to pit for dry rubber, but Russell did the opposite, pitting for treaded Yokohama tyres, and set about continually improving his lap times, at one stage over 1.5 seconds clear of the field.

Menchaca was a constant challenger for a front row grid slot but Russell ultimately set two laps good enough for pole, his fourth of the year, giving him an ideal opportunity to make inroads into Maini's championship lead.

The session wasn't without incident, with Michael Claessens, Connor Jupp, Maini and Mayer all suffering excursions, with the incidents ending Claessens' and Maini's sessions prematurely.

Russell commented: "The plan was always to start on slick tyres and then to make a decision on whether to stay on slicks or pit for wets. I knew the slick tyres would take a lot longer to come in than the wet tyres, and it was on the limit really of deciding whether to stay on the slicks or take the wets.

"With the wets coming up to temperature quicker, we made the decision to take wets as I felt it was too wet for slicks. I came in quite early, went back out and it paid off, it was clearly the right call!"

The first race of the weekend starts at 14.15.

BRDC F4 Championship, Snetterton qualifying result:

1. George Russell, Lanan Racing, 2m06.230s
2. Diego Menchaca, Douglas Motorsport, +0.565s
3. Will Palmer, HHC Motorsport, +1.145s
4. Gaetano di Mauro, Petroball Racing, +1.225s
5. Charlie Eastwood, Douglas Motorsport, +1.328s
6. Rahul Mayer, Hillspeed, +1.812s
7. Piers Hickin, Chris Dittmann Racing, +1.975s
8. Raoul Hyman, HHC Motorsport, +1.992s
9. Arjun Maini, Lanan Racing, +2.007s
10. Struan Moore, Lanan Racing, +2.803s
11. Sennan Fielding, HHC Motorsport, +3.332s
12. Jordan Albert, SWR - Caterham F1, +3.990s
13. Alfredo Zabalza, Hillspeed, +4.343s
14. Diego Borrelli, SWR - Caterham F1, +4.782s
15. Rodrigo Fonseca, Douglas Motorsport, +5.957s
16. Michael Claessens, MGR Motorsport, +6.106s
17. Connor Jupp, Meridian Racing, +6.414s
18. Tom Bale, Chris Dittmann Racing, +6.836s