Nigel Melker takes first ever GP3 Series pole

The early morning start meant a low track temperature of just 14 degrees on a drying track for the first ever GP3 qualifying session in Barcelona, making the conditions tricky for the 30 young drivers.

It was an extremely closely fought battle to take the first ever GP3 Series pole position, with positions constantly changing during the final few minutes. Almost half of the field were potential pole sitters and it was impossible to predict who would find the extra few hundredths needed to claim the coveted top stop.

Status GP's Robert Wickens put in a last minute push and looked likely taking the inaugural pole position posting the first lap time under 1 minute 53. But it wasn't to be for the Canadian driver, as RSC Mucke Motorsport continued their strong weekend and Nigel Melker crossed the line seconds later posting a time of 1:52.602 and holding on to the top spot despite last ditch attempts from the remainder of the field. Pal Varhaug then put in an extremely impressive performance for Jenzer Motorsport, the young Norwegian improving lap after lap in the dying moments, his last lap time of 1:52.931 enough to knock Wickens down into third. Daniel Morad finished the thrilling session in fourth with a time of 1:53.311, followed by James Jakes for Manor in fifth spot with a time of 1:53.440. Dean Smith flied up the time sheet on new rubber, ending in sixth spot for Carlin, and in a surprise seventh spot for ART was one of the pole favourites Estenban Gutierrez.

Alexander Rossi's start to his 2010 campaign continued to disappoint as the American crashed into the barrier early on in the session, completing just three laps in total. Another casualty was Adrian Quaife-Hobbs. After putting in impressive lap times during the session, the British driver pushed a bit too hard to take the coverted top spot and ended his session prematurely in the barrier.

Only 29 cars took part in the qualifying this morning. Mirko Bortolotti had to sit the session out after injuring his thumb during yesterday's practice session.

-source: gp3series