Andrea Kimi Antonelli took a comfortable win in today's KCMG Formula 4 qualifying race to book pole position for tomorrow's medal-deciding contest at Circuit Paul Ricard. The Team Italy driver was the class of the field in timed qualifying and continued to dominate when competitive action began.
His task was made considerably easier by an opening-lap clash between Charlie Wurz (Team Austria) and Valentin Kluss (Team Germany). They started second and third respectively, but contact at turn 1 forced Wurz into retirement and left Kluss to trail home in 20th position.
With these two out of the running Antonelli was untroubled, pulling almost nine seconds clear of the pack and then appearing content to manage the gap and bring the car home. His margin of victory was reduced considerably by a late safety car, but this could not mask another consummate drive from the Italian.
There was plenty of action behind him as Manuel Espirito Santo (Team Portugal) led Pedro Clerot (Team Brazil) and Dario Cabanelas (Team Switzerland). The Swiss driver was able to force his way into third spot, making a bold move on the Brazilian to ensure a P3 starting position for tomorrow's medal-deciding race.
At the other end of the grid, Wurz has a mountain to climb from 24th spot, while Kluss also has plenty of work to do from P20. There were also struggles for Team Serbia's Filip Jenic, who clashed with Costa Toparis (Team Australia) and was classified 23rd.
Indeed, with his chief rivals suffering a miserable race, the question now is whether anyone can prevent Andrea Kimi Antonelli from securing the gold medal for Team Italy. The medal-deciding race will get underway at at 09:25 CET on Sunday morning.