Oliver Turvey went one better from his fine performance in today’s practice by claiming pole position for the feature race in a dramatic qualifying session in Abu Dhabi ahead of Dani Clos and Sergio Perez. The Briton spent the whole session at the sharp end of the timing sheets, but a late lap of 1:48.559 couldn’t be bettered by his rivals, handing Turvey his first GP2 Series pole position by almost half a second.
With temperatures soaring this afternoon following a quiet practice session and a sudden downpour of rain just afterwards, the drivers were immediately on the pace: Perez, Turvey and Jules Bianchi were fighting fiercely for the top spot from their first flying laps, alternating the quickest times between them as they circulated.
Ten minutes in and Turvey was on top (by just 0.009s), at fifteen Bianchi led the way, and with temperatures starting to slide it was difficult to know what to expect from the second set of tyres. Luiz Razia answered that question by being the first man on track and promptly putting himself in P2, and when his rivals returned to the circuit warfare recommenced.
With a few minutes remaining Perez went top, with Clos squeezing by a few seconds later, but Turvey laid down his marker and gave his rivals just three minutes to improve upon it: no one could get close, and it was all over as the chequered flag dropped. Behind the top three Fabio Leimer did a fantastic job to claim fourth on tomorrow’s grid, ahead of Davide Valsecchi, Bianchi, Razia, Giedo van der Garde, Romain Grosjean and Sam Bird, all of whom were within a second of pole: tomorrow’s race promises to be as scorching as the weather conditions.