Giorgio Pantano put in a dominant performance at the GP2 series qualifying in Hockenheim on Friday. Pantano, the current GP2 point leader, put in a time of 1:21.65, over a quarter of a second ahead of nearest rival Romain Grosjean.
"Everything went very well," commented Pantano. "We understood from free practice what we needed to improve for qualifying. We did the job and I think we did a perfect lap, the car was perfect and I was almost perfect."
Pantano also gave credit to the efforts of the whole Racing Engineering team adding "I have to say thanks to the team as they worked hard to prepare the car for qualifying."
The dry qualifying session started with sunshine but clouded over towards the end. Pantano put in his best qualifying lap with half of the allotted time elapsed, displacing an earlier time posted by Grosjean. Pantano managed to get a clear lap by staying out longer than his rivals, a decision that proved to be extremely wise as the lap time flashed up on the timing screens. As the session progressed the skies clouded over, the lower track temperatures did not help the challengers and Pantano's time stayed on top. Grosjean made a valiant last minute charge but was unable to displace the Italian, who acknowledged the German track as one of his favourites.
The third position on the grid will be occupied by Andreas Zuber , the Piquet Sports man posted a time of 1:22.004. He was over a tenth clear of Sebastien Buemi who races for Trust Team Arden who was in turn a mere thousandth quicker than fifth-placed man Lucas di Grassi of the Barwa Campos Team.
Bruno Senna did not fare so well, the iSport International competitor may have claimed many of the recent pole positions, but in Germany on Friday, the closest he could get was sixth place, over half a second adrift of the pole setters pace.
Alvaro Parente will start seventh for Super Nova Racing, along side Kamui Kobayashi of DAMS who failed to continue his good run in free practice. Pantano's team mate Javier Villa had engine problems in the earlier practice session, but the Racing Engineering squad seemed to get the gremlins out of the system as he posted a time of 1:22.560, enough to secure ninth on the grid. Di Grassi's team mate Vitaly Petrov rounded off the top ten in the sister Barwa Campos car .
Brit Mike Conway could only manage 20th after his car had to be rebuilt following a free practice accident.
The first of the weekends GP2 races will kick off a 3.00pm on Saturday. The 40 lap race promises to be a close one with all top 10 qualifying times within a second of Pantano's lap.