Jules Bianchi has taken pole position for the GP2 feature race at Monza, heading teammate Sam Bird in an ART Grand Prix front row lockout.
Frenchman Bianchi set his fastest time early on when conditions were at their best and was never beaten. Bird came closest, just 0.042s slower than his teammate. DAMS driver Jerome D'Ambrosio will start from third, ahead of Oliver Turvey of iSport. Coloni's Alvaro Parente and DAMS driver Romain Grosjean will share the third row.
Series leader Pastor Maldonado had a dramatic session, beaching himself in the gravel at the first chicane, bringing out the red flags as Rapax teammate Luiz Razia spun at the same moment. Maldonado managed to hold on to eighth place on the grid, one place behind title challenger Sergio Perez. Perez’s Addax teammate Giedo van der Garde was only 14th, despite setting the pace in free practice.
Series debutants Brendon Hartley of Coloni and Edoardo Piscopo of Trident finished the session in 22nd and 24th positions respectively. The top 18 drivers in the session were all within a second of Bianchi's pole time. Hartley said “In a normal weekend I wouldn't be satisified with P22, but considering that until this morning I never even saw the car, I think that there are many reasons to be positive.”
Super Nova Racing endured a tough qualifying session, with Luca Filippi only managing 11th fastest having been third in morning practice. Although disappointed, the Italian is optimistic of getting a strong result in the feature race. “I am sure we can set up a good car for tomorrow and with a good pace we can get some points and get a podium” he said. Filippi’s Swedish teammate Marcus Ericsson was 19th fastest.
Arden were another team to lost out in the tight session, with Charles Pic 16th, four places ahead of teammate Rodolfo Gonzalez. Both drivers complained of their runs being interrupted by traffic and yellow flags.