GP2

Stoffel Vandoorne claims maiden pole at home

McLaren test driver Stoffel Vandoorne has snatched his first GP2 pole position on home soil in today’s qualifying session at Spa-Francorchamps. The Belgian ace denied Series leader Jolyon Palmer from the top spot at the chequered flag. Mitch Evans took third spot.
The weather conditions were still fresh when the pitlane opened and the drivers fed onto the track on Pirelli Medium tyres. Already fast in this morning’s practice session, Johnny Cecotto quickly topped the standings, dipping under 1m58s, but Palmer was able to find a clear lap to break the 1m57s barrier. The Briton clocked in a laptime of 1:56.857 – five tenths quicker than Vandoorne then in P2.
Another rookie looked hungry for glory in the name of Raffaele Marciello: the mighty Italian improved on his first set of tyres to move up to second with a laptime of 1:57.237. Halfway through the session, the drivers returned to the pits for a fresh pair of tyres. They rejoined the track with ten minutes left on the clock. This morning’s fastest man Julian Leal was on a mission and improved on the first two sectors, but he hit traffic in the final sector thus reducing his efforts to naught.
In the dying minutes, Palmer seemed to have done enough to claim another pole position this season, but Vandoorne put his head down and found some extra pace to edge the Briton out of the top spot by 0.018s. At the chequered flag, Evans took third spot ahead of Marciello, Cecotto, Leal, Nathanaël Berthon, Simon Trummer, Marco Sorensen and Stéphane Richelmi.
With the weather forecast being uncertain and the demands of the Belgian track leaving no room for driver error, tomorrow’s feature race promises to be a cracker.
Spa-Francorchamps – Qualifying Session
Driver
Team
Laptime
Laps
1.
Stoffel Vandoorne
ART Grand Prix
1:56.839
10
2.
Jolyon Palmer
DAMS
1:56.857
8
3.
Mitch Evans
RT RUSSIAN TIME
1:57.057
11
4.
Raffaele Marciello
Racing Engineering
1:57.237
13
5.
Johnny Cecotto
Trident
1:57.244
12
6.
Julian Leal
Carlin
1:57.271
13
7.
Nathanaël Berthon
Venezuela GP Lazarus
1:57.272
12
8.
Simon Trummer
Rapax
1:57.284
10
9.
Marco Sorensen
MP Motorsport
1:57.389
11
10.
Stéphane Richelmi
DAMS
1:57.448
10
11.
Felipe Nasr
Carlin
1:57.475
11
12.
Arthur Pic
Campos Racing
1:57.516
10
13.
Daniel De Jong
MP Motorsport
1:57.706
11
14.
Tom Dillmann
EQQ8 Caterham Racing
1:57.770
11
15.
Conor Daly
Venezuela GP Lazarus
1:57.788
12
16.
Stefano Coletti
Racing Engineering
1:57.844
11
17.
Rene Binder
Arden International
1:57.851
12
18.
Daniel Abt
Hilmer Motorsport
1:57.875
13
19
Rio Haryanto
EQ8 Caterham Racing
1:57.974
12
20.
André Negrao*
Arden International
1:58.002
12
21.
Adrian Quaife-Hobbs
Rapax
1:58.005
12
22.
Kimiya Sato
Campos Racing
1:58.185
10
23.
Jon Lancaster
Hilmer Motorsport
1:58.218
13
24.
Sergio Canamasas
Trident
1:58.295
12
25.
Artem Markelov
RT RUSSIAN TIME
1:58.470
10
Takuya Izawa
ART Grand Prix
2:40.364
2
*André Negrao will lose five grid places following a penalty picked up after Budapest Sprint Race.