Monte Carlo: Qualifying report

Monaco Qualifying: Streetwise Heikki takes pole Arden International's Heikki Kovalainen will start tomorrow's GP2 series race from pole position after setting a superb 1:24.665 around the streets of Monaco. In a session filled with tension ...

Monaco Qualifying: Streetwise Heikki takes pole

Arden International's Heikki Kovalainen will start tomorrow's GP2 series race from pole position after setting a superb 1:24.665 around the streets of Monaco. In a session filled with tension and excitement, it was the Finn who rose to the top to claim two extra points for his championship campaign, and re-establish himself at the head of the drivers' table. It was a close finish, however, with the top three drivers covered by less than 0.09 seconds.

Heikki will be joined on the front row by Gimmi Bruni (Coloni Motorsport), with Adam Carroll (Super Nova International) and Olivier Pla (DPR) making up row two. Scott Speed (iSport International) and local boy Clivio Piccione (Durango) will line up on the third row, with Nico Rosberg (ART Grand Prix) and Giorgio Pantano (Super Nova International) on row four. The top ten is rounded out by Neel Jani (Racing Engineering) and Nicolas Lapierre (Arden International).

The session was full of incident, as the drivers searched for every thousandth of a second around the notoriously tough streets of the Principality. Ernesto Viso (BCN Competicion) came to grief early on, as he touched the barriers at Turn One and spun out. Olivier Pla, too, ended his session in the barriers. In the closing stages of the session he set the quickest first sector time of the day, but pushed just a touch too hard at Portier and finished his qualifying efforts with a broken car.

Nelson Piquet Jr (Hitech Piquet Sports) also had a tough time. A collision between the Brazilian and Can Artam (iSport International) on the run down to Mirabeau saw Piquet's front left suspension damaged. Piquet was unable to continue, and was left inconsolable.

1st Heikki Kovalainen Arden International.1:24.665
"It wasn't a fantastic lap but it was good enough for pole which is important, of course. Everyone will say I could have done a better lap, but there's so little time for practice that you can't push to the limit straight away. It's just important not to make any mistakes. The car was good straight away, and with the new gear ratios it's working well. I'm looking forward to the race, and to making a good start."

2nd Gianmaria Bruni Coloni Motorsport. +0.059
"It was quite a good qualifying for me. Unfortunately I got some traffic on my quickest lap and lost some time in the final corners as I had to back off. For sure I could be faster, but what you need in Monaco is to be on the front row, so maybe tomorrow we'll have another good start as we did in Barcelona and you never know. It's a 45-lap race, so it's pretty long. I have to say that the new tyres are mega. Bridgestone did a fantastic job. You can feel it straight away from leaving the pits, we've got more grip than I had last year in F1."

3rd Adam Carroll Super Nova International. +0.086
"We stuck to our plan and did what we had to do, which was to get as many laps done as possible this morning. You have to push to get a feeling for the car, and we made quite a few changes. The track is great. I think if I was here in a Formula 3, then compared to Macau it wouldn't be so different, it would be quite easy. But because you're stepping up into one of these things, it makes it more exciting. The car has so much torque in the low gears. It's just great fun."

-gp2-

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About this article
Series FIA F2
Drivers Gianmaria Bruni , Giorgio Pantano , Nelson Piquet , Scott Speed , Heikki Kovalainen , Adam Carroll , Clivio Piccione , Neel Jani , Can Artam , Olivier Pla , Nicolas Lapierre , Ernesto Viso
Teams ART Grand Prix , Racing Engineering , Arden International