GP2

Bahrain: Friday qualifying report

Filippi Stuns Rivals with Debut Pole Luca Filippi drove the perfect qualifying session to bag his first ever GP2 Series pole position here at the Bahrain International Circuit this afternoon. The Italian, driving for Super Nova International in...

Filippi Stuns Rivals with Debut Pole

Luca Filippi drove the perfect qualifying session to bag his first ever GP2 Series pole position here at the Bahrain International Circuit this afternoon. The Italian, driving for Super Nova International in 2007, will line up on the front row with Xandi Negrao who gave the new Minardi Piquet Sports team much to smile about by taking second position with his very last lap. Andi Zuber and Lucas di Grassi, two of the pre-season favourites, made sure that the front row will have their mirrors full tomorrow, as their iSport and ART cars line up in third and fourth.

Qualifying Report: As the session began, Javier Villa was the first on track for Racing Engineering, and stole the top time with his first two flying laps to set the benchmark at 1:42.316. Not five minutes had passed however before the lead had changed hands four times with first Mike Conway, then Lucas and Kohei Hirate taking top spot, before Andi stuck his iSport International in P1 with a 1:41.034.

With ten minutes gone Andi led the pack from Kohei, Lucas, Mike, Bruno Senna and Nicolas Lapierre. But no more than 30 seconds later, Luca blasted over the line on a 1:40.873 to take the top spot away from the iSport man. It was to be an unbeatable laptime.

The drivers were pushing to their limits, with a number slipping off the still dusty track, and with one second being the difference between first and 17th position, the half hour session was a true baptism of fire for the series rookies. That said, with five minutes of qualifying left, Bruno jumped up into fourth place for Arden International with Kohei Hirate, Kazuki Nakajima and Mike Conway also faring well in their first GP2 Series session, all featuring in the top ten.

With the seconds counting down, the front row looked to be Luca and Andi. But a stunning final lap from Xandi, including the fastest final sector of all, took the Brazilian onto the front row with Luca. The Italian bagged the first two points of 2007 for his pole and is the new championship leader overnight. Andi and Lucas will line up on row two, with Bruno and Kohei on row three. Timo and Borja Garcia take row four, while Kazuki and Mike fill the fifth row of the grid.

1st Luca Filippi Super Nova International.1:40.873
It feels great, really. We've been working a lot, training and pushing hard in the winter tests. This was the first goal, and I wanted to do it because it makes everyone more confident, and I'm in a new team and I had to show them my value. You always want to prove yourself and go quicker, and this is the mentality you need to be a racing driver.

2nd Xandi Negrao Minardi Piquet Sports. +0.085
I think it was a surprise for everybody, even for me! After the winter I knew if we would arrive here with a good set up, we could have a good position and now we've done it! Of course the race is the important thing, but to start on the first row is a good feeling for me

3rd Andi Zuber iSport International. +0.161
My aim is to be top five in qualifying and top three in the race, and now I'm third in qualifying so it's good for me. I didn't get the best out of the tyres, but anyway the race is tomorrow, so we'll see.

-credit: gp2

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About this article
Series GP2
Drivers Mike Conway , Lucas di Grassi , Borja Garcia , Bruno Senna , Kazuki Nakajima , Luca Filippi , Javier Villa , Kohei Hirate
Teams Arden International