Shanghai - CHN

Mikkel Mac

Mac grabs a timely pole

A vibrant qualifying session saw Mikkel Mac and Renaud Kuppens earn the right to start from the front row in Race 2 at Shanghai.

The two championship contenders went at it during the twenty-minute session to decide the starting order.

In the end it was Mikkel Mac (1'54"205) who edged it over the Belgian by 0.144. Ange Barde also shone. He held second for long stretches and, thanks to a time of 1'54"451, he will start from third, just 0.246 off pole.

Alongside the winner from Sonoma will be Alan Simoni, the last of the pack to dip under 1'55. Next up came Andrea Gardelli and Mathjis Bakker, 1"032 and 1"269 down on Mac, respectively.

Patrick Gobbo's 1'55"580 was good enough for seventh ahead of Andreas Segler (1'55"821). The laps put in by Giuseppe Fascicolo and Adrian De Leener saw them take the final top ten places.

Eleventh went to Mauro Calamia who, having missed the second free practice session with a broken transmission, used qualifying to get to know what for him is a new circuit. The Swiss driver closed out in front of Cordoni who improved on a practice session to forget.

The clouds were grey and humidity levels high, threatening rain, but the session was run on a dry track.


Ragazzi storms to pole in Shanghai

The first qualifying session in the Maserati Trofeo was spectacular as the leaders at Shanghai constantly swapped places.

At the end of the twenty-minute session, pole went to Riccardo Ragazzi; his first of the season. Behind him, clocking 1'54"475, was Cedric Sbirrazzuoli. So, it is will be an all-new front row in what looks like being an exciting race.

Number 1 slot on the timesheet went from one driver to another during the session. Kuppens was the first to set a quick lap, one soon bettered by Mac and then Venier. It was Ragazzi, though, who seemed most at home on the circuit. After claiming the best free practice lap he also topped the qualifying timesheet. However, Sbirrazzuoli and Cecchellero didn't make things easy and Ragazzi, on his third lap, had to post another scorching time to earn pole.

Alongside him will be Cedric Sbirrazzuoli (1'54"606), who has come on leaps and bounds this weekend. Behind the front two will be Andrea Cecchellero (1'54"702) and Ange Barde (1'54"809), two drivers who could have gone on to contend the win were it not for the Italian replacing a damaged tyre and being relegated to the back of the grid.

The driver who benefits most from this is Renaud Kuppens (1'54"906). He moves up the grid, leaving Mikkel Mac (1'54"926) behind; the Dane will still be determined to contest the title with the Belgian right to the very end.

Less than 1.5 seconds separate the top ten drivers with Alberto Cola (1'55"028) and Fabio Venier (1'55"126) up next, tracked by Dutchman Mathijs Bakker and Japanese driver Akihiro Asai, another competitor penalised for substituting a tyre. This means that Jonathan Sicart, making a Trofeo return, is promoted and will find Mauro Calamia flanking him at the start.

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