GP2

Monza: Friday qualifying report

Championship trio tops timesheets Heikki Kovalainen will start tomorrow's GP2 series race from pole position, ahead of championship rivals Nico Rosberg and Scott Speed. It will be the first time that Heikki and Nico will share the front row in...

Championship trio tops timesheets

Heikki Kovalainen will start tomorrow's GP2 series race from pole position, ahead of championship rivals Nico Rosberg and Scott Speed. It will be the first time that Heikki and Nico will share the front row in the GP2 series. The top three positions on the grid mirror exactly the top three positions in the current championship standings. Heikki's pole however, gives him two extra points in his hunt for the crown, to increase his championship lead over Nico to nine points.

Qualifying Report. The first two cars out were the Coloni Motorsport entries of Mathias Lauda and newboy Toni Vilander, both of whom spun off on only their second flying laps in free practice this morning.

But the quickest drivers straight out of the box were the championship rivals. Nico took first blood on his opening lap. Heikki however took his place at the head of the standings on the very next lap on a 1:33.739, and was never bettered. Indeed, he actually increased his speed later in the session by one one-hundredth of a second to finish his day on a pole lap of 1:33.725. Nico eventually finished 0.205 seconds behind.

Scott grabbed third from Jose Maria Lopez late in the session, but was more than a second slower than Heikki. He will be joined on row two by Nico's team-mate Alex Premat who pushed Jose Maria down to fifth. Nelson Piquet Jr will start sixth, with Nicolas Lapierre seventh, Ferdinando Monfardini eighth, Neel Jani ninth, and Giorgio Pantano lining up tenth.

With only seconds of the session remaining, the grid looked to have been formed. However, a late surge from the rGP2 series' newest addition Toni Vilander (Coloni Motorsport), saw the young Finn jump from 23 d to 16th position on his final lap. The top fourteen drivers on the grid are covered by just over two seconds, with positions three to 15 separated by just one second. At this track, notorious for its long straights, hard braking zones and overtaking opportunities, there could be fireworks tomorrow.

1st Heikki Kovalainen Arden International.1:33.725
"I'm very happy. I felt very comfortable this morning, and the car was 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."

2nd Nico Rosberg ART Grand Prix. +0.205
"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."

3rd Scott Speed iSport International. +1.126
"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."

-gp2-

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About this article
Series GP2
Drivers Giorgio Pantano , Nelson Piquet , Scott Speed , Nico Rosberg , Heikki Kovalainen , Neel Jani , Nicolas Lapierre , Ferdinando Monfardini , Jose Maria Lopez , Mathias Lauda , Toni Vilander
Teams ART Grand Prix , Arden International