Mark Winterbottom will start from the front row of the grid for Sunday’s season-opening round of the Stock Car Brasil Championship, the Race of the Duos, at the Autódromo Internacional Ayrton Senna in Goiânia.
The Prodrive Racing driver made his debut at the shared driving event last year, finishing in third place.
Sharing the cockpit with local driver Marco Gomes just one week after sweeping to victory in all four non-championship races at the Australian Grand Prix, the pair finished second-fastest in a dry qualifying session.
With the series’ regular drivers going out first, followed by their invited co-drivers, the starting grid order was determined by the average of each pairing’s fastest lap times in the session.
Pole position was claimed by Átila Abreu and co-driver Nelson Piquet Jr in their AMG Motorsport Chevrolet Sonic, with Gomes and Winterbottom claiming second-fastest, three-tenths of a second slower in their Voxx Racing Peugeot 408.
“It’s been great for the team; front-row start is very positive,” Winterbottom said afterwards.
“We’ve made some changes to the car this morning and in qualifying I felt pretty uncomfortable, but Marcos did a great job. We can win the race, and I think we are in a good position.”
Reigning series champion and former F1 veteran Rubens Barrichello qualified 26th-fastest with co-driver and former F1 racer Ingo Hoffman, with the pair seeing their fastest time disallowed for ignoring waved blue flags.
Aside from Barrichello and Hoffman, the 33-car field features a substantial number of former Grand Prix drivers, including Jaime Alguersuari, Chico Serra, Luciano Burti, Enrique Bernoldi, Antônio Pizzonia, Vitantonio Liuzzi, Bruno Senna and Lucas di Grassi. Reigning FIA World Touring Car Championship winner José María López is also in the field, along with last weekend’s Formula E race-winner in Miami, Nicolas Prost.
Former BAR teammates Ricardo Zonta and Jacques Villeneuve will pair up for the first time since the 2000 Formula 1 season, driving a Shell Racing Chevrolet.
2015 Stock Car Brasil Race of the Duos – Final Qualifying:
|Driver / Co-Driver||Team||Time|
|1.||Átila Abreu / Nelson Piquet Jr||AMG Motorsport||1:24.234|
|2.||Marcos Gomes / Mark Winterbottom||Voxx Racing Team||1:24.539|
|3.||Valdeno Brito / Laurens Vanthoor||Shell Racing||1:24.632|
|4.||Ricardo Maurício / Nestor Girolami||Eurofarma RC||1:24.635|
|5.||Thiago Camilo / Lucas Di Grassi||Ipiranga-RCM||1:24.636|
|6.||Allam Khodair / António Félix da Costa||Full Time Sports||1:24.686|
|7.||Cacá Bueno / José María López||Red Bull Racing||1:24.732|
|8.||Felipe Lapenna / Vitantonio Liuzzi||Schin Racing Team||1:24.807|
|9.||Lucas Foresti / Luiz Razia||AMG Motorsport||1:24.841|
|10.||Vítor Genz / Matheus Stumpf||Boettger Competições||1:24.851|
|11.||Galid Osman / Beto Monteiro||Ipiranga-RCM||1:24.863|
|12.||Júlio Campos / Nicolas Prost||Prati-Donaduzzi||1:24.871|
|13.||Diego Nunes / Ricardo Rosset||Vogel Motorsport||1:24.874|
|14.||Felipe Fraga / Álvaro Parente||Voxx Racing Team||1:24.904|
|15.||Denis Navarro / Felipe Giaffone||Vogel Motorsport||1:24.952|
|16.||César Ramos / Frederic Vervish||Cavaleiro Racing Sports||1:25.069|
|17.||Sergio Jimenez / Fabio Carbone||C2 Team||1:25.044|
|18.||Ricardo Zonta / Jacques Villeneuve||Shell Racing||1:25.090|
|19.||Max Wilson / Vitor Meira||Eurofarma RC||1:25.199|
|20.||Antônio Pizzonia / Bruno Senna||Prati-Donaduzzi||1:25.225|
|21.||Gabriel Casagrande / Enrique Bernoldi||C2 Team||1:25.242|
|22.||Ana Beatriz / Matias Milla||RC3 Bassani||1:25.253|
|23.||Fabio Fogaça / Leandro Totti||Hot Car Competições||1:25.287|
|24.||Luciano Burti / Jaime Alguersuari||RZ Motorsport||1:25.335|
|25.||Tuka Rocha / Chris van der Drift*||RC3 Bassani||1:25.169|
|26.||Rubens Barrichello / Ingo Hoffman*||Full Time Sports||1:25.469|
|27.||Daniel Serra / Chico Serra||Red Bull Racing||1:25.419|
|28.||Rafael Suzuki / Antonio Perez||RZ Motorsport||1:25.578|
|29.||Alceu Feldmann / Ezequiel Raul Bosio||Boettger Competições||1:25.730|
|30.||Raphael Abbate / Nicolas Costa||Hot Car Competições||1:25.944|
|31.||Felipe Maluhy / Xandynho Negrão||ProGP||1:26.023|
|32.||Raphael Mattos / David Mufatto||Schin Racing Team||1:27.674|
|EXC.||Popó Bueno / Guilherme Salas**||Cavaleiro Racing Sports||excluded|
* Ignored blue flags, best lap cancelled
** Times excluded, underweight
Image via Mark Winterbottom