Magny-Cours: Friday qualifying report

Lopez takes first GP2 pole in France José María López has taken his first career GP2 series pole position for the first of this weekend's races at Magny Cours. The Argentine, who finished the all-important mid-season test as the fastest...

Lopez takes first GP2 pole in France

José María López has taken his first career GP2 series pole position for the first of this weekend's races at Magny Cours. The Argentine, who finished the all-important mid-season test as the fastest driver of all over the course of the two days for Super Nova International, proved that his pace in testing was no fluke by beating the resurgent Timo Glock of iSport International into second place, with Giorgio Pantano, Timo's old Formula One sparring partner at Jordan, third for FMS International.

José set his pole time early on in the session. With track temperature at over 50 degrees, conditions were far from ideal to get the most out of the tyres, but José made the best of the early running to lead the field on a 1:23.911, narrowly ahead of Racing Engineering's Adam Carroll and ART Grand Prix's championship-leading rookie Lewis Hamilton.

On his second flyer, it was Timo who jumped up to second just 0.120 off José's best, as Giorgio slotted into third position, 0.026 behind Timo. Luca Filippi got a bit excited and slammed into the back of Lucas di Grassi under braking for the Adelaide hairpin, with both out on the spot.

And then it all went quiet. The combination of Saharan weather and the mid-season test meant that most teams remained confident of their set-ups and felt it preferable to await the final flurry.

And when that flurry came, the drivers gave it everything. Adam Carroll span at Chateau d'eau having locked up moments earlier, but continued on his way back to the pits. Nelson Piquet Jr was pushing hard too, and after a relatively slow lap he attacked the final chicane... a little too much as it turned out and the Brazilian was launched into the sky and off over the grass. He managed to return to the pits after improving his lap time on his next tour to grab fourth.

Championship leader Lewis, however, wanted the pole and pushed all he could to get it. In the end though, José's lap had just been too good and the Brit would have to settle for fourth, with Nelson relegated to fifth and Adam sixth. The top six were covered by just over one third of a second as the chequered flag fell, with the top 14 covered by a second, and the top 23 by two.

José María López Super Nova International 1:23.911
We've been quick all the time at Paul Ricard, and all the people are saying he's only quick in Paul Ricard, so it's good to come here and show that we can be quick. I feel really, really, really happy. I know it's not the end, because we have the race tomorrow, but it's the beginning.

Timo Glock iSport International +0.120
It was quite good. I made a little mistake at the last corner, hit the kerb a little which upset the car a bit. We had our first race together in Silverstone, and then the two day test in Paul Ricard, and I think now we are coming up to the top three all the time, which is where we should be.

Giorgio Pantano Petrol Ofisi FMS International +0.146
I know we had a chance to be on the pole but to be honest I wasn't pushing so hard in the start of qualifying, and that was when the track was best to find a good time. I think third is not bad, very close to the other two, and it's just a question of making a good start and then see what happens.

-gp2

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About this article
Series FIA F2
Drivers Giorgio Pantano , Lewis Hamilton , Nelson Piquet , Adam Carroll , Timo Glock , Jose Maria Lopez , Lucas di Grassi , Luca Filippi
Teams ART Grand Prix , Racing Engineering