Monaco GP2: Rossi masters the wet to take pole

Alexander Rossi will start Friday's GP2 feature race from pole position after setting the quickest time in a rain-affected split qualifying session around the streets of Monaco.

The timing of the rain effectively decided which of the two groups would be fighting for pole position, with the track drying out in the latter half of the second session for even-numbered cars.

Rossi proved the man to beat from the outset, going 2.4s quicker than anybody else on his second flying lap and then overhauling Raffaele Marciello’s benchmark from the first session on his next tour to move into provisional pole with a 1m39.242.

But the Californian wasn’t done, taking a further 1.6s off his own time as conditions improved, before shaving off more fractions in his next two laps, ultimately settling on a 1m37.019s.

Practice pacesetter Arthur Pic proved Rossi’s closest challenger, 0.598s adrift, and will line up third for Friday’s feature race, with Sergey Sirotkin making a late improvement to go third quickest in the group and line up fifth.

Directly behind the Russian on the right side of the grid will be Nick Yelloly and Sergio Canamasas, with Barcelona sprint race winner Alex Lynn set to start his first race at Monaco from down in 17th after going only ninth fastest in the group.

Marciello tops first group

In the earlier session for odd-numbered cars, Marciello was in control throughout, equipping wet tyres and settling into a groove immediately while most returned to the pits after a tentative lap on supersofts.

The Italian successively lowered the bar as conditions improved for the first half of the session, and was still able to find considerable time even when the rain got heavier late on in a mesmerising display of car control.

Bidding to extend his incredible run of six GP2 poles, Stoffel Vandoorne at one stage went quickest, but Marciello took almost two tenths out of the McLaren junior’s time before finding an incredible further 0.767s to cement what was at the time provisional pole with a 1m40.357.

Instead, the Trident driver will start alongside poleman Rossi on the front row, while Vandoorne remained second in the group to secure fourth on the grid directly ahead of Julian Leal, Jordan King and Daniel de Jong, who wound up in the barriers at Mirabeau in the closing minutes.

Zoel Amberg also managed to shed his right-rear wheel after oversteering into the barriers at Tabac.

Starting grid:

Pos  Driver  Team Time/Gap 
Alexander Rossi Racing Engineering 1m37.019
Raffaele Marciello Trident 1m40.357
Arthur Pic Campos Racing 0.598
Stoffel Vandoorne ART Grand Prix 4.105
Sergey Sirotkin Rapax 1.372
Julian Leal Carlin 4.636
Nick Yelloly Hilmer Motorsport 1.599
Jordan King Racing Engineering 4.876
Sergio Canamasas MP Motorsport 1.672
10  Daniel de Jong MP Motorsport 5.131
11  Nobuharu Matsushita ART Grand Prix 2.001
12  Pierre Gasly DAMS 5.229
13  Artem Markelov Russian Time 2.054
14  Richie Stanaway Status Grand Prix 5.406
15  Andre Negrao Arden International 2.123
16  Zoel Amberg Lazarus 5.520
17  Alex Lynn DAMS 2.167
18  Mitch Evans Russian Time 5.785
19  Marco Sorensen Carlin 2.513
20  Rio Haryanto Campos Racing 5.894
21  Rene Binder Trident 2.520
22  Johnny Cecotto Jr. Hilmer Motorsport 6.367
23  Nathanael Berthon Lazarus 3.082
24  Norman Nato Arden International 7.267
25  Marlon Stockinger Status Grand Prix 4.484
26  Robert Visoiu Rapax 7.456

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About this article
Series GP2
Event Monaco
Track Monte Carlo
Drivers Alexander Rossi , Arthur Pic , Raffaele Marciello , Sergey Sirotkin , Stoffel Vandoorne
Article type Qualifying report