GP2

Rosberg moves close to title with Istanbul pole

Nico Rosberg claimed today his third consecutive pole position in GP2 as the series completed the qualifying session for tomorrow`s race one on the maiden Istanbul circuit. Scott Speed and Jose Maria Lopez took second and third, respectively. It...

Nico Rosberg claimed today his third consecutive pole position in GP2 as the series completed the qualifying session for tomorrow`s race one on the maiden Istanbul circuit. Scott Speed and Jose Maria Lopez took second and third, respectively.

It was another good journey for the German. Rosberg set 1m38.416 to add two more points allowing him to cut the gap in the drivers standings to current leader Heikki Kovalainen by five points.

"It was really great. I'm really, really happy about today. In the beginning it was really difficult, because the track was quite dirty and we went out with new tyres, and it just didn't work - the car was a bit strange, and it was not what we expected from the set up. So we made the right changes to improve it a little bit - it was still a bit difficult, but it went in the right direction - and then with the second set I knew that was one that was going to count, and I made it stick", explained the pole winner.

The new Turkish racetrack felt really good for Rosberg, who has won three times this season. "I normally like going to new tracks, because I'm pretty good at learning tracks and everything, and I really enjoyed driving this track - it's a great track", he mentioned.

The rain came halfway through the session complicated the lap time for Rosberg, who said: "I could be a couple of tenths faster for sure, because I lost a lot in the exit."

Rosberg will try tomorrow to catch another victory, and may take the lead in the championship. "I don't care about that at the moment - I just want to do it race by race, do them all well, and then see what happens. I think we will have a really good car for tomorrow, so I hope to start well again and then do a good race - that's all I can do", Rosberg commented.

American driver Speed took, for the third time this year, a in the front row position for Saturday's race. The iSport International card set 1m38.531.

"It's great. It's definitely one of the coolest circuits I've ever driven. I got held up pretty bad on my second set of tyres and I had to abort a run because of the yellow flags otherwise I'm sure we would have been right there with Rosberg-- which we actually are though, so yeah we're quite confident for the race", Speed said.

Speed was the fastest in the morning practice session and could confirmed his quick time during qualifying despite the changes in the track: "There was more grip, but we were surprised at how much less grip it had than we had thought it would. We gained about a second and a half, which is nowhere near what we expected to gain".

Tomorrow`s race will be another chance for Speed to take his first series victory, "We've got to get a good start, but we're going to have a very strong race car"

Third place went to Lopez, his return to a top place in the series after a couple of bad weekends. The last time he was in the top three was on a Friday in Magny-Cours.

"It's good for us because we've been working really hard to understand why we lost the car in the last three races. It looks like the team now understands, and I think that I helped a lot, and the car was okay today", the Argentinean commented.

Lopez`s confidence on today`s performance allows him to expect a strong result for tomorrow: "I was able to fight for the pole - when you are one tenth off you can always fight for the pole, but when you are one second off you can't. I'm very happy, and I hope that the car will be good for tomorrow in the race, which has always been a little bit difficult for us".

The Argentinean has the challenge to take back some points, and to get back on the podium, after the recent three races where ninth place in Silverstone was his best.

The top ten grid places are: Rosberg, Speed, Lopez, Giorgio Pantano, Nelson A. Piquet, Alex Premat, Adam Carroll, Gianmaria Bruni, Borja Garcia and Hiroki Yoshimoto.

Local Turkish driver, Can Artam, will start 22nd.

Finnish racer Kovalainen had a bad day, setting 13th and will have it hard to defend his lead in the championship where he is five points ahead of Rosberg.

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About this article
Series GP2
Drivers Gianmaria Bruni , Giorgio Pantano , Scott Speed , Nico Rosberg , Heikki Kovalainen , Adam Carroll , Can Artam , Hiroki Yoshimoto , Jose Maria Lopez , Borja Garcia