Piquet Perfection Pips Perera's Pole Potential Nelson Piquet Jr's perfect lap in the final ten minutes of this afternoon's GP2 series qualifying session has seen the Brazilian clinch his second pole position of the 2006 season to deny GP2 series...
Piquet Perfection Pips Perera's Pole Potential
Nelson Piquet Jr's perfect lap in the final ten minutes of this afternoon's GP2 series qualifying session has seen the Brazilian clinch his second pole position of the 2006 season to deny GP2 series rookie Franck Perera the top spot on the grid for tomorrow's race. Nelson, who suffered an engine change after free practice, stopped the clocks on a 1:40.799 to set a time in excess of three seconds faster than Giorgio Pantano's 2005 pole lap here at the Nürburgring, and takes an extra point to add to his championship lead for the pleasure.
In a qualifying session of two distinct halves, the first 15 minutes saw a mass of on-track activity as every driver took to the track to make the most of the Formula One rubber which had been laid down in today's two free practice sessions. José María López was the early pace-setter, immediately setting a lap well within last year's pole time for Super Nova International. Nelson was grinding around at the bottom half of the 26-car pack, while up at the sharp end, it was a fight between Lewis Hamilton for ART Grand Prix, José and Franck.
Franck's lap of 1:41.241 set the standard at the half way point, as the top 21 drivers were covered by a single second. Nelson popped in what was, at that point, his best time to sit second, while Hiroki Yoshimoto was carrying on his fine form from Imola for BCN Competicion, never falling from the top four positions for the entire half hour. Hiro's session was livened up with a close-call with Lewis, as the two Direxiv-backed drivers went through the Veedol Chicane side-by-side. In the end it was Lewis who cracked, spinning his ART Grand Prix car through 180 degrees. Neither car was damaged in the incident, and the two will line up on the second row tomorrow with Lewis in third for the third Saturday in succession and Hiro fourth.
Franck, meanwhile, was still leading the times, and as all the drivers went out again on fresh tyres, nobody seemed to be able to improve on the Frenchman's lap. As the amount of on-track activity slowed down, a first pole for the Dams driver looked to be in the bag until, with less than ten minutes remaining, Nelson held his nerve to take pole by 0.4 seconds belying how close the session had been up to that point. A front row start for Franck however is a fine achievement and will serve to boost both his and his Dams team's confidence after a tough start to the season.
José will start from fifth place, joined on row three by ART Grand Prix's Alex Prémat, while Racing Engineering's Adam Carroll and Arden International's Nicolas Lapierre share row four. The top ten is rounded out by Imola winner Ernesto Viso for iSport International in ninth and BCN Competicion's Timo Glock tenth at his home race.
1st Nelson Piquet Jr Piquet Sports.1:40.799
"I was hoping for a top six, a good start and race and to get a podium, but I never expected pole, especially by such a big margin. After no practice, being half a second in front and having some of the guys around me in the championship starting further at the back is very good."
2nd Franck Perera Dams. +0.442
"I'm really happy and satisfied because we had a really difficult and bad start to the season. But here we made a really good job, and I think we are back at the top like in the winter tests."
3rd Lewis Hamilton ART Grand Prix. +0.526
"I feel really positive for tomorrow because we start third, and I hope to get a good start and then anything can happen: with a good pitstop I'm sure we can have a good race."