Coletti Fourth In Sepang Qualifying, Penalty Turns Onidi’s P9 Into P12
The first qualifying session of the 2012 GP2 season was a good one for Scuderia Coloni: Stefano Coletti clinched a great 4th place and will hence start tomorrow’s Race 1 from second row, while Fabio Onidi was the second quickest rookie on track and qualified in P9, before being handed a penalty that relegated him three places back on tomorrow’s grid.
It wasn’t an easy session, as managing rubber was important as much as avoiding traffic. Stefano Coletti managed to do both, doing just a single qualifying outing in order to save one set of tyres for the races, a key factor on an high-temperature track like Sepang. With just two laps available, Stefano did a wonderful job and on his second flyer he posted a 1’45”577 that was just 0.09 shy of pole position.
Fabio Onidi, meanwhile, had a pretty good first outing that put him in seventh place in the first half of the session with a 1’45”810. The team and Fabio decided to go for a second attempt on new rubber, but traffic ruined the Italian’s ambitions: Onidi boasted an impressive first sector split time that hinted to at least a top 4 finish, but in the middle sector he had to go too far from the racing line to overtake Max Chilton on the outside, and then backed off. To add disappointment, after the session Onidi was penalized by the Race Direction for holding Gonzalez due to a misunderstanding, and so will start Race 1 from P12 instead of P9. His performances are looking good anyway, so his aim now is giving us an entertaining race tomorrow.
Race 1 is scheduled for Saturday at 11.00 local time, 8.00 GMT.
Stefano Coletti: “It was a really good session for me, I was feeling at ease with the car already from the Free Practice and so, together with the teams, we decided to use just one set of new rubber, saving one for the races. It proved to be the right choice because I was really quick, less than one tenth adrift from pole, and that extra set of tyres will prove very useful, I’m sure. For tomorrow the weather could change everything, but if it stays like today I expect a really close fight”.
Fabio Onidi: “I really have mixed feelings. On one hand being three tenths off the pole on my first GP2 qualifying is not bad at all, but on the other hand that lap was on ‘prime’ tyres and I could have improved it a lot with the ‘option’ compound. Unfortunately my best lap was wasted by traffic and there was nothing I could do about that. The penalty is just another odd I’ll have to overcome, but frankly now I just want to focus on the race. We are good, the performance is there, so I expect a good race but it will be physically tough, and rain could spoil everybody’s plans”.