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Monza: Status GP qualifying report

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Monza: Status GP qualifying report
Sep 11, 2010, 6:48 PM

WICKENS AND MORAD TAKE TOP 10 POSITIONS IN GP3 QUALIFYING Status Grand Prix drivers Robert Wickens and Daniel Morad both secured a place inside the Top 10 for today's GP3 Series race in this morning's 30-minute qualifying session ...

WICKENS AND MORAD TAKE TOP 10 POSITIONS IN GP3 QUALIFYING

Status Grand Prix drivers Robert Wickens and Daniel Morad both secured a place inside the Top 10 for today's GP3 Series race in this morning's 30-minute qualifying session at Monza.

With the famed Italian circuit's 2.64-mile layout of long straights between chicanes, the session was defined by slipstreaming cars all trying to secure a 'tow' - the extra speed gained in the hole in the air close behind another car - and Wickens and Morad both succeeded in logging laps using this technique.

Canadian Wickens posted a time which was good enough for fifth place on the grid. The Canadian was challenging for pole position throughout the session, but his best run was impeded when a series of yellow flag incidents occurred at the final Parabolica turn in the closing minutes of the session which required him to back out of the throttle. With Wickens' title rival Esteban Gutierrez securing the bonus points for pole position, the Mexican clinched the GP3 title ahead of the weekend's two races. But with a 13-point gap to the next driver in the standings, Wickens is still gunning to secure second place in drivers' championship.

Likewise, GMH-Motorsport backed driver Daniel Morad was a victim of unfortunate timing on the yellow flags. A fixture in the top six of the timings for long periods of the session the Canadian-Lebanese driver, on his first visit to Monza, felt his car was markedly improved from yesterday's practice. However, with his second set of tyres coming into their prime at the end, he twice encountered yellows at Parabolica, limiting him to ninth.

The same fate befell Marussia Motors development driver Ivan Lukashevich, whose final lap was 1.0sec up on his previous best before he arrived at Parabolica for the final time and had to back off. He starts 30th but is optimistic of making up places in today's race as pack 'tow' each other and offer overtaking opportunities.

The Driver's View

Robert Wickens (CAN): Best time: 1m43.94s, +0.515s; Position: 5th.
"We were competitive, but the ultimate tow and lap time never came our way. But Esteban is a deserving winner and congratulations to him on the title. I'm now focusing on adding to my wins tally this weekend."

Daniel Morad (LIB): Best time: 1m44.09s, +0.572s; Position: 9th.
"We were a bit unlucky at the end there, because we'd shown better than ninth for much of the session, but with these long straights overtaking is definitely possible in the race and we'll look to move up."

Ivan Lukashevich (RUS): Best time: 1m.45.99s, +2.565s; Position: 30th.
"The data shows I was on for a much stronger time at the end of the session - not setting a time earlier in the session has cost me, but now I need to make ground in today's race for a better grid position for tomorrow."

-source: status gp

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