Pic Claims Pole To Boost Hopes Of Runner-Up Spot

Charles Pic has done his hopes of finishing as runner-up in the GP2 Series standings the world of good by claiming pole position at Monza.

The Frenchman moved into P1 less than ten minutes into the 30 minute session. That time remained good enough for pole position, as few drivers improved on their times towards the end of the session. A yellow flag in the closing minutes after Pal Varhaug suffered a puncture and stopped at the second Lesmo sealed Pic's pole position.

Having gone quickest in free practice in the morning, Luca Filippi held first place until being knocked off by Pic. The Italian remained in second place, also keeping his hopes of grabbing the runner-up spot alive.

Alvaro Parente, making his return to GP2 this weekend having missed the last two rounds due to his GT commitments with McLaren, moved up into third place midway through the session but was immediately displaced by Fabio Leimer.

Champion Romain Grosjean took fifth place, ahead of the Racing Engineering pairing of Dani Clos and Christian Vietoris. Brits Adam Carroll, Sam Bird and Max Chilton completed the top ten, with the fourth Brit Jolyon Palmer enjoying his best qualifying position to date just behind them in 11th.

Jules Bianchi and Giedo van der Garde, who currently lie third and second overall in the standings separated by just one point both had miserable sessions and ended up down in 19th and 20th respectively, with traffic and yellow flags hampering their efforts.

Pic's pole position and the two bonus points attached move him to within five points of Addax teammate van der Garde and four behind Bianchi, and is well placed to move ahead of them in tomorrow's feature race. Front row qualifier Filippi is also in contention, just nine points behind van der Garde.

Varhaug had failed to set a representative time before his puncture due to a technical problem. He will be joined on the back row of the grid by Esteban Gutierrez, who had an off on the exit of Ascari earlier in the session.