GP2

Kovalainen beats Rosberg in pole battle at Monza

The GP2 race weekend had a exciting start in the qualifying session, with Heikki Kovalainen taking pole from his championship rival Nico Rosberg by two tenths of a second, and getting two extra points for the title. The Finn set a time of ...

The GP2 race weekend had a exciting start in the qualifying session, with Heikki Kovalainen taking pole from his championship rival Nico Rosberg by two tenths of a second, and getting two extra points for the title.

The Finn set a time of 1:33.725, followed closely only by Rosberg in the times, as third fastest qualifier, Scott Speed, finished 1.1 seconds adrift of the top.

Kovalainen started showing his pace in Monza with the fastest lap in morning practice. "I'm very happy. I felt very comfortable this morning, and the car felt pretty good -- I think with the low downforce settings we have here the car has been working really well over the whole weekend so far, and I was certainly looking for pole position today", the Arden International driver explained.

Kovalainen is back on pole position at long last, and now has the tools to repeat the victory he took in Istanbul's sprint race two weeks ago.

Having Rosberg, the closest rival in the championship, in the front row on tomorrow's grid is something that doesn't seem to bother the standings leader. "I think we're going to have a good race, and I've never had any problems racing with Nico. I think you'll see a good fight, and hopefully I'll come out of it first, although I'm sure he's thinking the same. We're just going concentrate on the strategy and on the car, to get it right and then just push and see where we are", the Finn said.

Indeed, Rosberg is the other man in the struggle to become the first GP2 champion as the series enters its final three rounds.

The German doesn't want to lose the train with Kovalainen and will to try catch him during the race. "I'm happy to be on the front row, but not happy because I did the same lap time three times in a row! It was going to have to be something very special to take pole today and it just didn't happen. We were lacking one or two tenths from Heikki", Rosberg said.

Rosberg stopped the clock with a gap of just 0.205 to Kovalainen in a proof that Saturday's race will have thrilling emotion with top championship contenders fighting head to head for the victory.

Kovalainen now leads the standings with nine points over Rosberg, who will try to catch and discount the difference on Saturday. Third place belonged to Scott Speed, who is also third in the championship positions, although 28 points behind the Finn.

Despite being 1.126s from the top, Speed is still confident for tomorrow to get his first series victory. "We're in a strong position. We've also seen that there is a possibility for rain tomorrow, and obviously we were pretty quick in the rain in Turkey, so we'll see what happens. From third spot we're right in the hunt, and you never know what can happen in the race".

Speed signed yesterday with Red Bull team in F1 to be the test driver for next season.

Top ten today: Kovalainen, Rosberg, Speed, Alex Premat, Jose Maria Lopez, Nelson A. Piquet, Nicolas Lapierre, Ferdinando Monfardini, Neel Jani and Giorgio Pantano.

The Finn now leads the German by nine points, 87 to 78. Scott Speed has 59 and is closely followed by last weekend's winner, Alex Premat, with 53. ART leads between the teams with 131 points to the 100 of Arden.

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About this article
Series GP2
Drivers Giorgio Pantano , Scott Speed , Heikki Kovalainen , Nicolas Lapierre , Ferdinando Monfardini
Teams Arden International