Sweden’s Erik Stark took pole position in London today. Driving for the Maverick F1 Team, he stunned his rivals with a 37.71sec time to beat three-time World Champion Philippe Chiappe of the CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team and claim his third career pole position.
Defending World Champion Alex Carella rounded off the podium positions for the Victory Team.
Chiappe’s fellow Frenchman Peter Morin carded a flying lap of 38.44sec to qualify fourth. Sweden’s Erik Edin was fifth and Poland’s Bartek Marszalek rounded off the top six.
Qualifying was split into two sessions of 30 minutes and 20 minutes and the traditional six-boat shoot-out on the tricky course on the River Thames with seven boats eliminated in Q1 and a further six in Q2.
Peter Morin carded his intent from the outset with a lap of 42.88sec and that lap was only surpassed by Carella’s 42.81sec after five minutes of the session. Torrente was safe in third with a time of 43.11sec.
Filip Roms retired after 10 minutes of the session with technical issues, as Thani Al-Qemzi moved to the top of the rankings with a lap of 41.61sec and moved ahead of Duarte Benavente, Chiappe, Erik Stark and Ahmed Al-Hameli. Torrente found himself down in 11th position and then moved to the front of the field with a flying lap of 41.36sec to confirm his place in Q2. Erik Edin eventually won the session with a lap of 40.56sec from Ahmed Al-Hameli and Bartek Marszalek. Torrente finished in 11th.
Female drivers Simone Schuft, debutant Mette Bjerknaes and fellow Norwegian Marit Strømøy (fuel flow issues) were eventually eliminated alongside Cedric Deguisne, Roms, Grant Trask and Thani Al-Qemzi, who slipped into the bottom seven in the last minute of the session.
Another six drivers would be eliminated in Q2. Francesco Cantando carded an early target time of 40.49sec and that was quickly surpassed by Edin’s 40.44sec flyer. Stark ran a 40.13sec to take the lead, as Sami Selio and Torrente entered the fray, the latter having made a propeller change.
Carella topped the times with a 40.03sec lap with 11 minutes remaining, but Torrente was in trouble and running out of time to make the top six in choppy conditions. He languished in ninth heading into the last two minutes of the session and was not able to move up higher than eighth in a session that fell to Carella from Chiappe and Stark. Jonas Andersson, Selio, Duarte Benavente, Cantando and Al-Hameli were also eliminated.
Marszalek was the first on to the course for the six-boat Q3 shoot-out and the Pole carded the target of 41.55sec. Morin was next out and the Frenchman clocked an opening flyer of 38.44sec. Young Swede Edin began with a 42.36sec and improved with a second lap of 39.69sec to move ahead of the Pole.
Stark was next on to the water and the Maverick Team driver clocked a 37.71sec opener to claim provisional pole. Chiappe opened his account with a lap of 37.89sec but was not able to beat the Swede. Carella aborted his first run in a time of 44.89sec and the Victory Team driver clocked a 38.15sec second run to qualify in third place behind Stark and Chiappe.
Photos: Mike Powell
2018 Grand Prix of London – BRM Qualifying:
1. Erik Stark (SWE) Maverick F1 Team 37.71sec
2. Philippe Chiappe (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team 37.89sec
3. Alex Carella (ITA) Victory Team 38.15sec
4. Peter Morin (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team 38.44sec
5. Erik Edin (SWE) Team Sweden 39.69sec
6. Bartek Marszalak (POL)Emirates Racing Team 41.55sec
7. Francesco Cantando (ITA) Blaze F1 Team 40.49sec
8. Shaun Torrente (USA) Team Abu Dhabi 40.69sec
9. Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) Victory Team 40.84sec
10. Duarte Benavente (PRT) F1 Atlantic Team 41.11sec
11. Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Sweden 41.39sec
12. Sami Selio (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team 41.53sec
13. Thani Al-Qemzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 41.61sec
14. Grant Trask (AUS) F1 Atlantic Team 41.89sec
15. Marit Strømøy (NOR) Emirates Racing Team 42.63sec
16. Cédric Deguisne (FRA) Maverick F1 Team 44.05sec
17. Filip Roms (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team 44.29sec
18. Simone Schuft (DEU) Blaze F1 Team 45.92sec
19. Mette Bjerknaes (NOR) Maverick F1 Team 46.56sec
2018 UIM F1 H2O Pole Position Championship – standings after round 2:
1. Alex Carella (ITA) Victory Team 24pts
2. Philippe Chiappe (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team 22pts
3. Shaun Torrente (USA) Team Abu Dhabi 20pts
3. Erik Stark (SWE) Maverick F1 Team 20pts
5. Thani Al-Qemzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 15pts
6. Peter Morin (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team 14pts
7. Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) Victory Team 9pts
8. Erik Edin (SWE) Team Sweden 7pts
9. Bartek Marszalak (POL) Emirates Racing Team 5pts
Photos: Mike Powell