Luca Filippi took the final pole position of the 2009/2010 GP2 Asia series after topping the times at the end of today's qualifying session.
Filippi stole the thunder away from race winner from last time out, Charles Pic, in the final couple of minutes of qualifying to secure the two bonus points, which helps in Filippi's quest to secure second in the Drivers Championship.
Early in the session, it was young American Alexander Rossi and Giacomo Ricci who set the early pace, but soon they started to drop down the times, as Filippi and Pic bettered their times.
Apart from Filippi and Pic, Turvey, Valsecchi, Parente and Villa were all challenging for the top spot, but none of them were able to set a time quicker than Filippi's best.
By the half way point of the session, it was Pic who had taken the provisional pole position ahead of team mate Javier Villa, Filippi and the iSport drivers Oliver Turvey and Champion Davide Valsecchi.
Pic manfully held on to the pole position until the final minutes when the Meritus driver Filippi bettered his time and secured pole. The Frenchman, Turvey, Valsecchi and the Scuderia Coloni racer Alvaro Parente all challenged to take way the pole from Filippi but all failed.
Behind the top 5, Villa, Jules Bianchi, Luiz Razia, Giacomo Ricci and Alexander Rossi completed the top 10 at the end of the session.
“Yes, I am very happy because we really wanted this pole position and finally we've got a clear qualifying. Last time, I lost the pole for half a tenth and this time I managed to have a really good lap. The care was fast. I am very happy because the team is from Bahrain and this is an important result for them.” Was the reaction of Filippi on his pole position, before going on to add “It's a different layout, but we were fast also last round. I was P4. In one lap, you can always improve. The importance is to be fast. This time, on this longer circuit, it was maybe easier to have a bigger gap and maybe I managed to take all the best from my second and third sectors. In the first sector, I had a little bit of traffic and I lost three or four tenths. Anyway, it was enough to be on pole. I'm also happy because we didn't use the tyres too much, so we will have good tyres for tomorrow. Even if it is going to be very tough because the race is very long and everybody will struggle a bit with the rear tyres.”
Second on the grid is Pic, and he said: “Of course it's a shame because we lost the pole position in the last few minutes, but second place is still a good result for us. It's a good position for the start tomorrow. The team has made a good car and I have also improved my driving compared to the Free Practice. Now we have to focus on the race for tomorrow. It will be hard: we have to be careful with degradation and because the track conditions will change. We are thinking about the set up for tomorrow. But I also have to improve in turns 17 and 18â€¦ I haven't found the perfect breaking points for now in these corners.”
Third on the grid is iSport's Oliver Turvey, who said: “Obviously, I'm reasonably happy to be in the first few rows, but being quickest in free practice I thought we had a fair chance to fight for pole this afternoon. So I'm a little bit disappointed to miss out on the pole, but you know it's very close. I've got to be pleased: the session run without problems. I couldn't get out the maximum of the tyres. I think there is still a little bit more there. I'm looking forward to the race. We have a really strong race pace and we have shown throughout the Series that we can be strong in the race. I'll be focused on getting a good start and beat them off there. But you know, I know that over the race distance we have a quick carâ€¦” before adding “Of course. It is fantastic to have John here this weekend and he is the Racing Steps Foundation Ambassador and a previous F1 World Champion. His advice will be valuable throughout my career. He has been giving me a lot of them already. It's great to have his support this weekend and hopefully I can have a strong race and try and get the win.”
Qualifying times for round 7 of the 2009/2010 GP2 Asia Series:
- Luca Filippi MalaysiaQI-Meritus.com 2m 07.087s
2. Charles Pic Arden International 2m 07.178s
3. Oliver Turvey iSport International 2m 07.237s
4. Davide Valsecchi iSport International 2m 07.243s
5. Alvaro Parente Scuderia Coloni 2m 07.413s
6. Javier Villa Arden International 2m 07.432s
7. Jules Bianchi ART Grand Prix 2m 07.710s
8. Luiz Razia Rapax 2m 07.772s
9. Giacomo Ricci DPR 2m 07.892s
10. Sam Bird ART Grand Prix 2m 08.339s
11. Fabio Leimer Ocean Racing Technology 2m 08.428s
12. Dani Clos Trident Racing 2m 08.467s
13. Michael Herck DPR 2m 08.634s
14. Christian Vietoris DAMS 2m 08.678s
15. Max Chilton Barwa Addax Team 2m 08.692s
16. Yelmer Buurman Ocean Racing Technology 2m 08.778s
17. Edoardo Piscopo DAMS 2m 08.858s
18. Vladimir Arabadzhiev Rapax 2m 08.863s
19. Josef Kral Super Nova Racing 2m 09.454s
20. Alexander Rossi MalaysiaQI-Meritus.com 2m 08.027s – 10 place grid drop.
21. William Bratt Scuderia Coloni 2m 09.611s
22. Rodolfo Gonzalez Barwa Addax Team 2m 09.648s
23. Jake Rosenzweig Super Nova Racing 2m 09.904s
24. Plamen Kralev Trident Racing 2m 12.975s