A teal and blue F2 car driven by Roy Nissany

Roy Nissany: DAMS 1-2 in final F2 Qualifying of 2022 ‘surprising’

Following the last qualifying session of the season, Formula 2 gave fans an entertaining and unusual grid for Sunday’s Feature Race, with Ayumu Iwasa and Roy Nissany making up an all-DAMS front row. This is the first time an F2 team has achieved this since Prema drivers Oscar Piastri and Robert Shwartzman locked out the front row at the penultimate round of 2021 in Jeddah.

By Tyler Foster

While the combination of Iwasa and Nissany on the front row may be a surprise to some, this is not DAMS’ first pole of the season. Iwasa had taken a pole position in Hungary back in July, but this is by far Nissany’s best Qualifying performance of the season, with his previous best being sixth at Imola.

Nissany had briefly topped the timesheets with about a minute remaining before Iwasa usurped him for pole six seconds later.

“Well, it was suddenly surprising,” Nissany said, “even more, to have Ayu on top. I have to admit, when my engineer told me on my radio it was P1, I replied, ‘Repeat, please!’ Then he said, ‘Sorry, it’s P2 because Ayumu is P1’.

“It’s definitely surprising and I know it was a late lap. I think our car was very good. I’m happy I was able to put it all in one lap, and it seems like the hard work we’ve been putting in this time off has paid off because it really was hard work.”

Nissany ‘learned a lesson’ from Imola crash

The 27-year-old Israeli driver is in his fourth F2 season and is having his highest-scoring season to date despite sitting only 18th in the standings. Even with his experience, Nissany has only stood on the F2 podium once at the 2021 Monaco round.

He had a great opportunity to take his maiden victory in the series earlier this year in Imola when he surged from sixth to first at the start, but on Lap 20, he made an error and crashed out from the net lead. F1 Feeder Series asked Nissany whether that incident will play on his mind as he starts from the front row on Sunday.

“I’ve definitely learned a lesson. I still feel the pain. Imagine how it is to lead in F2 for the first time, after one of the best starts F2 has saw, and just putting it in the wall. It’s a tragedy personally and I think I will remember it always, but obviously I take it as a lesson, try to take the most out of it,” Nissany said.

“It teaches you a lot, it gives you perspective and you can rest assured [that it’s a] lesson learned.”

Pourchaire takes crucial P3

Currently second in the championship, Pourchaire has had a mixed campaign. Sometimes he has looked the class of the field; at other times, he has struggled for consistent points. With his future in the series uncertain, the French teenager showed his talent in the final round of 2022, qualifying third at the Yas Marina Circuit.

While he is all but confirmed as this year’s F2 runner-up, he still has to score to help his ART Grand Prix squad defeat MP Motorsport for the teams’ title. Both teams are level on points coming into this final round, and Pourchaire will be happy to have qualified one place ahead of MP’s lead driver, champion-elect Felipe Drugovich, for the all-important Feature Race.

“First of all, I’m happy with P3. It’s not a bad position and a bad result, so it’s a good place for the Feature Race and also for the Sprint Race tomorrow. It’s a good last quali of the season. I was first before I did a little mistake Turn 6. I don’t think that cost [us] the pole. DAMS was really fast today. We have to work out tonight to see what they did,” Pourchaire said.

“I was looking at the big screen, exit of Turn 5, and I saw that Nissany and then Iwasa was in front of me. I was a bit sad, but it’s life, and P3 is good.”

Théo Pourchaire | Photo credit: Formula Motorsport Ltd

While Pourchaire has won three Feature Races and finished second on a further three Sundays, the 19-year-old Frenchman has failed to score a pole this season. Considering that last year at Monaco, he became the youngest polesitter in F2 history at 17 years and 9 months old, it is perhaps disappointing that Pourchaire hasn’t shown his true pace more consistently this year. F1 Feeder Series asked the ART driver why he hasn’t achieved a pole in 2022.

“I’m not surprised. It can happen. For sure I wanted to score a pole. Today, I was close. Some of the Qualifyings this year, I was not good. I was not driving well,” Pourchaire admitted.

Some of the Qualifyings this year, I was not good. I was not driving well

Théo Pourchaire

“Qualifying is very much different from races, and in the races I’m always one of the best. I’m doing a good job, I’m doing good starts, good overtakes. Not too bad in races, but quali to be honest is a bit of everything. It’s a bit of car setup, a bit of driving. Maybe I will come back next year. You don’t know yet.”

Header photo credit: Formula Motorsport Ltd

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