Lowes braced for podium attack in Barcelona battle
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS has high hopes of a top three challenge in tomorrow’s Catalan Grand Prix after Sam Lowes qualified on the front row for the fifth time in 2020, with Augusto Fernandez confident he can launch a strong recovery from the fourth row of the grid.
- With a welcome respite from the vicious winds that battered the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya yesterday, Lowes dominated FP3 this morning and then fought for pole position at the 4.6km venue.
- Fernandez worked tirelessly to find a confident feeling on his Kalex package and was in contention for the top six in both of today’s sessions before he just missed out in a frantic finale to Q2.
///AUGUSTO FERNANDEZ: 13th, 1’43.956, 27 laps
- It was a bright start in sunny but chilly autumnal conditions this morning for Fernandez and he was instantly able to lap over 0.7s faster than his best Friday speed without having to contend with the fierce and unpredictable winds that dominated proceedings on day one.
- His best lap of 1:44.123 put him within striking distance of the top three this morning and it was a time that comfortably eased him into the 15-minute Q2 session.
- Fernandez was able to take another small step forward in Q2 and he broke into the 1:43 bracket for the first time this weekend to lap within 0.3s of the top six.
- The 23-year-old ended Q2 in 13th position but will move up one row because of a six-place grid penalty for Remy Gardner, who had qualified in 10th position.
“We will do our best to make a good recovery”
“It was a difficult qualifying session for me. I tried to push hard at the start of the session when we had the best grip, but it was not possible to go any faster and improve the lap time. We will study the data tonight and do our best to make a good recovery in the race tomorrow.”
///SAM LOWES: 3rd, 1:43.637, 26 laps
- Lowes made his customary fast start in this morning’s FP3 session and his first sub 1:44 lap of the weekend quickly moved him into contention for top spot under clear blue but cool skies, with ambient temperature only reaching a fresh 14 degrees.
- The British star continued to reel off a series off impressively fast and consistent laps and just over three minutes of the third session remained when a brilliant lap of 1:43.523 ensured he was to lead the way once again.
- Having come within a whisker of setting a new all-time lap record this morning, Lowes entered Q2 full of confidence that he could challenge for pole position in temperatures that improved to 20 degrees this afternoon.
- That confidence wasn’t misplaced and the number 22 will start on the front row of the grid with World Championship leader Luca Marini and Jorge Navarro after he set the third best Q2 time ahead of the 22-lap race.
“I’m confident I can fight for the podium”
“The target before every qualifying is to be on the front row, so I am obviously happy about that. I didn’t feel perfect in Q2, but I was still able to finish in the top three and put up a good fight for pole position, which shows we can be fast even with a few small issues. My pace for the race is positive and I have been very fast in all sessions. I think we can go into the race very confident of fighting for the podium and possibly my first win of the season.”