Oliver Turvey has taken his maiden GP2 Series pole position at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi. The Briton, who drives for iSport International posted a quickest time that was nearly half a second quicker than anybody else.
From the start of the session it was Turvey, Sergio Perez and Jules Bianchi who were trading fastest times. Perez took top spot from Turvey with just a few minutes to go, before he was bettered by Dani Clos. Turvey then stole the top spot, setting a time that no one was able to get close to.
After qualifying, Turvey said: “I really enjoyed that. The car felt good in free practice this morning and a few subtle changes yielded further improvements – this was probably the best it has felt all year. My first run was quick, but I encountered slower traffic on my second lap and was unable to improve. That was frustrating, but I already knew the car was definitely good enough for pole and the track was clear for my second run, so I was able to capitalise.”
He is hopeful of repeating the victory he scored at Abu Dhabi in the Asia series earlier in 2010. “I know this circuit well and have won at Yas Marina before, in GP2 Asia, but it's the first time I've driven the European-spec car here and the day really couldn't have gone any better. To take pole is one thing but to do it by such a large margin is quite another. I know I have the performance and I'm confident I can convert it into victory.”
Although Clos was second fastest, he was one of six drivers given grid penalities after being deemed to have ignored a red light at the end of the pit lane at the end of the session. The Spaniard's demotion to 12th promoted Perez to the front row, with Fabio Leimer an impressive third and Turvey's iSport teammate Davide Valsecchi fourth.
Bianchi had qualified sixth but was one of the drivers penalised, along with Giedo van der Garde who had qualified eighth and Sam Bird who was 10th. Series champion Pastor Maldonado could only qualify 15th, and was then demoted to the penultimate row. Jerome D'Ambrosio was the final man to be penalised, dropping to last after qualifying 21st.
Clos said: “After the session, several drivers, including myself, were penalized due to a confusion with the marshals in the pitlane once the session was over. It's a shame as we were in a really good position to attack. Now we have to see what tomorrow brings.”
Perez said: “It was a tough qualifying today, very competitive, the maximum I could do was P2 but we did a small mistake in the strategy. Turvey was very quick today, too quick for us, but tomorrow I'm sure we're going to be competitive and I hope I can win my last race.”