Venezuelan steals top spot on last lap
Johnny Cecotto crushed his rivals' dreams of glory with a stunning last lap in the first ever split GP2 qualifying session this afternoon in Monaco to take the top spot in Group B, along with pole position, ahead of Group A leader Max Chilton and Marcus Ericsson.
The Venezuelan's best lap of 1:21.195 was set as he crossed the line to close out the second session, pipping his Swedish rival's formerly quickest lap by just 0.054 after a restart for a single lap following a red flag period for a spin by Rodolfo Gonzalez.
The first session saw local rivals Stefano Coletti and Stéphane Richelmi swapping fastest laptimes with Giedo van der Garde, but as the session ran down the Dutchman kept going faster, looking certain to claim at least a front row start as his rivals struggled to keep up until the chequered flag dropped, when Chilton put together an astonishing lap of 1:21.320 to steal provisional pole by a tenth from van der Garde and Jolyon Palmer.
A few minutes later session two was underway, with Tom Dillmann, Gonzalez and Fabio Leimer setting the pace until Ericsson stepped up with a string of astounding laps to lead the session by over six tenths and claim pole position. When Gonzalez spun there were only 3 minutes remaining on the clock as the red flags came out, and it looked as though the Swede had claimed his prize.
Cecotto, however, had other ideas, and against the odds managed to find the space to repeat this morning's performance and take the top spot on the timesheets from Ericsson, with Luiz Razia also improving on his last tour to pinch third in the session from Davide Valsecchi.
With the grid to be formed in two rows in order from the sessions, Cecotto takes pole from Chilton with Ericsson, van der Garde, Razia, Palmer, Valsecchi, Josef Kral, Leimer and Esteban Gutiérrez, lining up behind them: it is a grid that promises fireworks in tomorrow's feature race in the principality.