Artem Markelov will start the Monte Carlo F2 feature race from the second row of the grid after an amazingly tight qualifying session ahead of tomorrow’s blue riband event on the F2 calendar.
In Monaco the 20-car F2 field is split into two groups of 10 and Artem topped Group A with a lap in 1m21.834s until DAMS driver Alexander Albon pipped him with 1m21.727s in the dying seconds of the session to claim pole position.
In Group B, Prema driver Nyck De Vries (1m21.737) lapped just a hundredth of a second slower than Albon to claim the other front row starting position, with Russian Time’s Japanese driver Tadasuke Makino (1m22.420s) doing an impressive job to set sixth quickest time in on his first experience of the demading 2-mile track around the streets of the Monaco Principality.
Artem Markelov: «After the qualifying problems we have experienced at previous races this season I have a new chassis here and happily the feeling is a lot better. Everyone knows Monaco is all about qualifying and this was a much more convincing performance and should enable me to fight for another podium after my win here in in 2016 and my second place last year. I need the points to get my 2018 campaign back on track.”
Tadasuke Makino: «You always want to be quicker but I probably have to be happy with sixth given my lack of experience of both F2 and Monte Carlo. Building up to a lap and gaining confidence is the best way to find speed in Monaco, but you don’t have that luxury in a short qualifying session and have to produce a lap straight away to get the best out of the tyres! I was only a couple of tenths behind third place in the session, so that’s promising.”
Svetlana Strelnikova (Team principal): «It’s a big relief for us to see Artem’s qualifying speed here after the troubles he’s had, including engine problems, at the previous rounds. He has given himself a good race chance and the start will be all-important. Tadasuke’s performance is strong too, and he has a realistic chance of points even with overtaking so difficult around Monaco.”