Kazuki Nails First Pole in Valencia
Kazuki Nakajima has claimed his first GP2 Series pole position at Circuit Ricardo Tormo, Valencia this morning, beating the stiff challenge mounted by championship leader Timo Glock. Kazuki was in fine form, and having set the pace along with his team-mate Nicolas Lapierre in the morning's free practice, took the two points for pole in a tight contest. Timo took second position with Luca Filippi third.
Qualifying Report: As the session got underway it was Lucas di Grassi who laid down the first marker as a sign of his intentions to take the championship battle to Timo on this final weekend. Timo was just about to begin his first lap in reply to the Brazilian's time, when his team-mate Andi Zuber ground to a halt on the start/finish straight. With the red flags out, everyone jumped back into the pits.
When action recommenced, Borja Garcia led an all Spanish top four until his team-mate Karun Chandhok leapt up to second. As the first ten minutes drew to a close, the track reached its optimum and we were treated to a blistering battle for pole.
First Luca went top on a 1:20.113, before Nicolas took the position by half a second. Moments later, Xandi Negrao bagged top spot by one hundredth of a second before Timo pushed for all he was worth to take P1 on a 1:19.389. With Lucas down in 23rd position, Timo looked to have two extra points in the bag. But then Kazuki, in inspired and enthralling form, scorched over the line to post a 1:19.312. Nobody would come close to beating it.
Lucas by now was back out and fighting, and along with Andi was trying to make up position from the back of the pack. Despite the traffic on the tight circuit they both moved into top ten positions. As the order jostled in the final minutes, Kazuki's time stood unchallenged, with Timo steady in second. Luca however stole third place with Lucas rising to seventh, and when Marcos Martinez spun at the final corner, the yellow flags meant everyone's morning was over. Kazuki had his first pole, and two points to help him in his quest to finish 2007 as the highest placed rookie.
1st Kazuki Nakajima: Dams. 1:19.312
It's a really great feeling, and also especially as this is the last qualifying of the year it's good to show our potential. The car was really good I think, and my driving was good enough. Fortunately we didn't get traffic too bad for that lap - we had some after though, but it was great. Last winter we had a test here and we were also quick so I was expecting to be good at this track. I thought we improved a lot during this year and after practice we knew we had the potential to challenge for the pole, so yeah I just did normal driving and it was good enough for the pole. It came from all of the team.
Race 1 starts today at 16:00 Local Time (CET)
-credit: gp2 series