GP2 Series

Fabio Leimer Sails To GP2 Pole At Silverstone

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Fabio Leimer - Photo Credit: Alastair Staley/GP2 Media Service

Fabio Leimer delivered a stunning lap time in the Silverstone rain to finish up nine tenths clear of the opposition in GP2 qualifying.

Conditions had improved slightly from the drowned-out practice session earlier in the day, and it was championship leader Davide Valsecchi who led the running early on the 30 minute session.

Just as the session reached the halfway point, Racing Engineering man Leimer moved a whopping 2.2 seconds clear of the rest of the field.

Even though the rain eased, Leimer's effort would remain good enough for pole position – the first of his GP2 career.

The red flags came out with ten minutes remaining after the car of Marcus Ericsson came to a halt on the Hangar Straight. Just ahead of him, Johnny Cecotto also slowed and needed the assistance of the marshals to push him into the pitlane as Ericsson's machine was recovered.

Cecotto got back out when the session was restarted and the Addax driver finished up as the best of the rest behind Leimer. Jolyon Palmer secured a great third place at his home race for iSport International.

Stefano Coletti took fourth place for Scuderia Coloni, who it was announced this morning will leave the championship at the end of the year.

The Lotus GP pairing of Esteban Gutierrez and James Calado will share the third row of the grid and were separated by just 0.016.

Behind the two Lotus cars were the two Carlin machines of Rio Haryanto and Max Chilton, but the former will take a five-place grid drop for the collision he had with Calado while they fought over the lead in the Valencia sprint race two weeks ago.

That will promote title contender Luiz Razia to eighth, behind Chilton and just ahead of Giedo van der Garde. Valsecchi could only manage the 12th fastest time in the end, one place behind his DAMS teammate Felipe Nasr. Both of the French team's cars came to a halt in the closing minutes of the session.

Nigel Melker will hope for his first GP2 points from 13th on the grid for Ocean Racing Technology, ahead of Addax's Josef Kral and Racing Engineering's Nathanael Berthon who were both unable to match their front-row-qualifying teammates.

After mastering the drenched conditions of free practice, Fabrizio Crestani was only 16th fastest in the less-extreme conditions of qualifying. Rodolfo Gonzalez was 17th, with Ericsson only 18th after his issue.

Daniel De Jong qualified 19th for his second weekend in GP2, ahead of fellow Auto GP regular Victor Guerin. Julian Leal was 21st, Fabio Onidi 22nd as he ground to a halt after the checkered flag, Simon Trummer 23rd and Stephane Richelmi 24th.

Usual back-row fillers Ricardo Teixeira and Giancarlo Serenelli found themselves even further off the pace in the conditions, five and seven seconds adrift respectively but both within 107% by the end.

The feature race is at 14:40 on Saturday.

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Peter joined the TCF team in September 2010 and covers GP2 and GP3 along with WTCC and Formula Two. You can find him on twitter at @PeteAllen_
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