Herck tops dramatic qualifying in Spa Michael Herck has claimed his first pole position in the GP2 series in a rain lashed qualifying session this afternoon at Spa Francorchamps, taking the top spot late in a session which saw red flags stop ...
Herck tops dramatic qualifying in Spa
Michael Herck has claimed his first pole position in the GP2 series in a rain lashed qualifying session this afternoon at Spa Francorchamps, taking the top spot late in a session which saw red flags stop proceedings four times as he held off local driver Jerome d'Ambrosio and series leader Pastor Maldonado.
The Romanian set his fastest lap of 2:15.661 late in the heavily rain affected session, just before the final red flag of the session was shown, holding on for the closing minutes and a one lap dash before the chequered flag to take the top spot in a session which ultimately ran for well over double the usual 30 minutes.
The rain started falling as soon as the drivers made their way into the pitlane, with Maldonado risking a lap on slicks as the rest of the field chose more sensible tyres: the gamble was to no avail as the session was immediately red flagged for almost 30 minutes on account of the excessive rainfall.
The eventual first flying lap saw Luiz Razia on the top spot, but a spin into the wall next time round as first Romain Grosjean and then Sergio Perez pipped his time put paid to the Brazilian's plans and prompted the second red flag period, with teammate Maldonado slicing his way to the top of the timesheets just before the session was stopped.
Grosjean wasn't waiting for anyone when the field was released again: three fastest sectors gave the Frenchman the top spot, just ahead of teammate d'Ambrosio, but when Giedo van der Garde and Vladimir Arabadzhiev found the wall it was time for the red flag to resurface.
Herck was the first man back on track and the clear track made the difference: he went P1 as Adrian Zaugg prompted the final red flag period: d'Ambrosio was the only man to find a notable improvement on the last lap dash, but fell two tenths short of the target, with Oliver Turvey finishing fourth (and stopping on track after the chequered flag), just ahead of Christian Vietoris, Grosjean, Charles Pic and Sergio Perez. With tomorrow's weather as uncertain as the forecasts for today, the feature race promises to be one of the most exciting of the season.
After the qualifying session pole-sitter Michael Herck and others were penalized for "failing to sufficiently slow for yellow flags during qualifying." Herck will now start the race fourth, with Jerome d'Ambrosio inheriting the pole, Pastor Maldonado starting second and Oliver Turvey in third.
See also: Spa: Post qualifying penalties announced
-source: gp2 series