GP2 qualifying from Hockenheim could only be described as wet and wetter.
Giedo van der Garde held on to a narrow gap in marginal conditions to take his second GP2 series pole of the season.
James Calado finished just 0.012s behind his rivals 1m 44.022s. Only one other driver was able to get within a second of Calado and van der Garde. Fabio Leimer took the third spot with a 1m 44.944s, but deteriorating conditions kept all other qualifiers from dipping into the 1m 44s range.
"I think the beginning we had to do a laptime because the radar said at the end there would be more rain, but it came early than expected and I had to push from lap one," van der Garde said in a post qualifying press conference. "We [points to James Calado] swapped places all the time - I was P1, then he was P1, and so on for 4 or 5 laps, and that was it, when the rain came down quite heavily. Then it was actually over: we did try to go out again, but we were 2 or 3 seconds slower."
All drivers, except for Giancarlo Serenelli who could not qualify after crashing in Friday practice, quickly hit the track in worsening conditions to set a lap time. Cars sloshed and slid throughout the session, but a dry line never formed and any gains in time were marginal. Van der Garde set his time eight minutes into the session.
The forecast for tomorrow includes more rain, which left drivers with many unknowns.
"I don't know [what to expect], but it will be hard: we don't know what the weather will be," van der Garde said. "They say it will be rain, but you never know here: it's always tricky. We just have to see, but the important thing even if it rains is the start, you have a clear vision from the front."
Hockenheim is a great challenge in stable conditions, and it is not a yearly stop for GP2, which adds to the difficulty. Teams have less data to setup their cars and a lot comes down to driver skill and team strategy.
Weather, tire degradation, setup are all hard to calculate, but Calado thinks the conditions are ripe for overtaking.
"You've got the long straight and heavy braking into turn 6, tire degradation will again be important, who will go on the soft tires at the start and who won't: you just don't know. So pitstops will be important, and a clean race to stay out of trouble is the key," Calado said.