GP2 Series Media

Frenchman on top in qualifying

Jules Bianchi put himself back in the hunt with a storming drive to pole position in this afternoon’s qualify session in Barcelona, taking full advantage of the track conditions by being the first man onto the circuit and taking the top spot early in the session, ahead of Giedo van der Garde and Sam Bird.

The Dutchman looked to have pole wrapped up on his second flying lap, but his French rival pipped him just seconds later with a lap of 1:30.369, a mere one tenth ahead of the men in P2 and P3, while their rivals struggled to match the times as the clock ticked down.

Fabio Leimer slowed his rivals down on the first flying lap as he crawled around the first sector before leaving the circuit at turn six, the unfortunate victim of some type of gremlin: Bianchi was on a good lap but had to back off after finding the resultant traffic, but his next trip around made up for lost time.

With so many cars on track at the same time there was little chance for improvement: Romain Grosjean looked to be close to setting the pace before pulling up in the final sector, and it wasn’t long before most of the field were back in the pits, with Ocean Racing the only team to run an alternative plan, going out as they rivals came in.

Most of the field looked to be trying to hold on to a set of tyres, but when a couple of cars went out late in the session the floodgates opened and most of grid were forced back out. There was effectively no change in the order, however, as Charles Pic, Grosjean, Davide Valsecchi, Dani Clos, Marcus Ericsson, Stefano Coletti and Luca Filippi will line up behind the top three on the grid tomorrow. With 12 drivers within a second of pole, and tyres more critical than ever, the feature race promises more excitement than ever.

Barcelona – Qualifying Session

  Driver Team Laptime Laps
1. Jules Bianchi Lotus ART 1:30.369

8

2. Giedo van der Garde Barwa Addax Team 1:30.473

6

3. Sam Bird iSport International 1:30.488

10

4. Charles Pic Barwa Addax Team 1:30.616

11

5. Romain Grosjean Dams 1:30.807

12

6. Davide Valsecchi Team AirAsia 1:30.820

11

7. Dani Clos Racing Engineering 1:30.927

12

8. Marcus Ericsson iSport International 1:30.935

10

9. Stefano Coletti Trident Racing 1:30.974

11

10. Luca Filippi Super Nova Racing 1:31.084

12

11. Max Chilton Carlin 1:31.192

12

12. Josef Kral Arden International 1:31.447

12

13. Luiz Razia Team AirAsia 1:31.513

11

14. Michael Herck Scuderia Coloni 1:31.527

13

15. Alvaro Parente Racing Engineering 1:31.636

12

16. Esteban Gutierrez Lotus ART 1:31.645

11

17. Kevin Ceccon Scuderia Coloni 1:31.670

13

18. Rodolfo Gonzalez Trident Racing 1:31.694

13

19 Kevin Mirocha Ocean Racing Technology 1:31.757

6

20. Pal Varhaug Dams 1:31.779

11

21. Fairuz Fauzy Super Nova Racing 1:31.821

12

22. Jolyon Palmer Arden International 1:31.822

12

23. Mikhail Aleshin Carlin 1:31.977

12

24. Julian Leal Rapax 1:32.934

8

25. Johnny Cecotto Ocean Racing Technology 1:33.246

7

26. Fabio Leimer Rapax

1