McKane on Pole Position for Revived Karjala Grand Prix

Nathan McKane will lead the field to the green flag, taking pole position in Saturday’s qualifying for the revived Karjala Grand Prix.

It is the Scot’s second pole position in the series, his first coming more than a year ago at the 2019 RAC Tourist Trophy. In a session where it was a struggle for a lot of drivers to get a clean lap with the amount of traffic on track, the Ravenwest team owner found just enough space on his first run to put in his pole time. While some of his rivals, including points leader Rhys Davies, did find clean track for their second runs in the dying minutes of the session, the track had lost some of it’s edge from earlier in the session due to increasing track temperatures. A few cars deeper in the field would improve their position but no one in the top ten would improve, giving Aston Martin their first pole position of the season.

Starting alongside McKane on the front row of the grid will be Darren Older Jr., putting in his best qualifying performance of the season and leading the charge for Team MacMillan. His previous best qualifying position this season was sixth at the Yas Supercar Festival, but was a second and a half off the pace of teammate Rhys Davies on that occasion. He was only a tenth of a second away from McKane’s pole time after putting in a good lap early in the session. On the second row of the grid will see Li Qi in the first Carson Speedworks Corvette and Matteo Rossi in the second of the factory Aston Martins. It was also Rossi’s best qualifying performance of the season, doing one better than his attempt at the season opener at Interlagos.

On the third row of the grid is the second Carson Corvette and Joey Alliot, and the leading Independent’s Trophy driver in Lasse Tilkesson for Blokkmonsta Motorsport. It’s the Swede’s second pole position in class and comes in a important point in the campaign for the team after only scoring one Independent’s Trophy point in the last two races after converting their last class pole position into class victory in Interlagos, Brazil. Qualifying second in class, and tenth overall, was Independent’s Trophy co-leader Darren Cardel, with Paul Travesen one position behind Cardel.

The current Driver’s Championship points leader Rhys Davies was only able to qualify eighth in his MacMillan Ford, after pacing the field in the practice sessions from Friday and Saturday. In his first run he caught the factory Pagani of Amato Agostini too early in the lap, which prevented him from taking advantage of the massive slipstream possible through the end of the lap. He would not have the grip required in his second run to improve, with the conditions warming up to their hottest the weekend had seen thus far, forcing him to abort his second run.

Of the two local entries to have pre-qualified for the race on Thursday, they find themselves in the latter third of the field. Liv Eklund, on call-up from her normal seat at Lynxe, put the debuting Koenigsegg twenty-third on the grid while Weiss von Koenig in her normal seat put the Lynxe Mercedes nineteenth on the grid. The other local entry, entered by Finnish racing stalwart Finntech, qualified twenty-fifth for the Karjala Grand Prix.

Qualifying Results – Karjala Grand Prix

12MNathan McKaneRavenwest1:33.632
243MDarren Older Jr.MacMillan+0.102
364MLi QiCarson+0.332
46MMatteo RossiProdrive AMR+0.385
563MJoey AlliotCarson+0.604
652ILasse TilkessonBlokkmonsta+0.628
703MEmma PescatoreSolvalou+0.629
840MRhys DaviesMacMillan+0.707
901MChris WinterSolvalou+0.712
1087IDarren CardelFerdinand United+0.804
1104IPaul TravesenLumenition RMR+0.878
1224MAmato AgostiniPagani+1.177
1325MFrank ZimmerPagani+1.237
1428MAndrea ConstantiniScuderia Italia+1.250
1542ISylvain FabronMinster+1.277
1688IHarrison WilkinsonLKM+1.283
1715IMelanie BourneBoutsen Ginion+1.326
188ILaurindo CoehloBest In The World+1.413
1967IWeiss von KoenigLynxe+1.416
2077IAndrea MassiniMinarae+1.434
2155IJoel MelroseTom Douglas+1.443
22801IJans ZeitnerAMG+1.571
2394MLiv EklundKoenigsegg+1.572
2419IPeter OliverOliver+1.627
25222IMika TervoFinntech+1.744
2627MEvgeny RestovScuderia Italia+1.788
2782IPaul JenkinsGlobex Scorpio+2.011
28555IAntonio Reyna-SanchezTom Douglas+2.083
29550IPhil McCrackenCzechmate+2.207
3070INikov TimeTeam Astana+2.333