Filippi beats iSport team for GP2 pole
Luca Filippi has reignited his stuttering championship run by dominating this afternoon's qualifying session in Istanbul, powering to the top spot late in the session to end two tenths ahead of Timo Glock and Andi Zuber.
The Italian looked strong throughout, running in the top six for the entire session and putting paid to his previous preference for the medium compound tyre. Filippi was fastest on his first set of the hard tyres, and set the two fastest laps on his second set, finishing the session with a time of 1:34.278.
The session started with temperatures slightly lower than this morning's free practice but still hotter than at most circuits, with Zuber and Lucas di Grassi swapping fastest times early in the session until Giorgio Pantano and Filippi started to hit their strides. Zuber and Glock looked likely to run faster again until they were called into the pits as a result of yellow flags for spins by Marco Martinez and Javier Villa, the latter of whom was unable to rejoin the circuit and was forced to sit out the remainder of the session.
The harder compound meant that it took two laps to get the tyres up to speed despite the high temperatures, as evidenced by Zuber's decent first flying lap out of the pits halfway through the session where he set the fastest second sector before claiming the top spot one lap later. A few minutes later Filippi repeated the trick, running slightly wide at turn 8 before nailing it next time by to reclaim the top position next time by the pits.
With ten minutes remaining Filippi came in for his second set as Karun Chandhok and Martinez spun on track: a quick stop at the weighbridge and four new tyres later he was back out and ready to prove a point: Glock, Zuber, di Grassi, Pantano and Carroll were all running fast, but the Italian was looking to hold on to the top spot despite his rivals' best efforts.
The closing minutes went like this: di Grassi pushed up to P4, Pantano spun out of turn one after hitting the inside kerb and then got going again, Glock found P1 with the fastest third sector, Carroll took P3, Filippi on his first hot lap claimed the fastest first sector and then P1 despite being held up behind Soucek in the final complex, Glock went faster but was still in P2, Zuber claimed P3, Carroll and di Grassi pitted with nothing left on their tyres, Filippi went even faster to hold onto P1 with the fastest 2nd and 3rd sector times as the chequered flag waved, Glock had no answer on his final lap and Pantano pushed up to P4, the last of the leading cars across the line.
Filippi was jubilant after claiming his first pole since Bahrain earlier this year, while the iSport duo walked back down the pitlane sweating from their exertions to congratulate the Italian. Behind Pantano, whose wrist was still strapped from Hungary but nevertheless starts from the second row tomorrow, were Carroll and di Grassi to fill up the third row on the grid, while Xandi Negrao and Kazuki Nakajima will line up just behind them but ahead of Sebastien Buemi and Borja Garcia.
But rightly all eyes in the pitlane were on Filippi, who will be hoping that his strong performance today will be echoed tomorrow with a win, as happened the last time he took pole in the series.
Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1. Filippi Super Nova International 1:34.278 13
2. Glock iSport International + 0.224 15
3. Zuber iSport International + 0.267 14
4. Pantano Campos Grand Prix + 0.331 15
5. Carroll FMS International + 0.372 9
6. Di Grassi ART Grand Prix + 0.636 10
7. Negrao Minardi Piquet Sports + 0.761 13
8. Nakajima DAMS + 0.900 15
9. Buemi ART Grand Prix + 0.932 10
10. Garcia Durango + 0.940 15
11. Petrov Campos Grand Prix + 0.967 14
12. Conway Super Nova International + 1.035 14
13. Rodriguez Minardi Piquet Sports + 1.059 15
14. Lapierre DAMS + 1.209 16
15. Tahinci FMS International + 1.727 11
16. Tung BCN Competicion + 1.736 12
17. Hirate Trident Racing + 1.899 13
18. Senna Arden International + 1.943 12
19. Soucek DPR + 2.006 15
20. Zaugg Arden International + 2.038 15
21. Chandhok Durango + 2.040 13
22. Risatti Trident Racing + 2.490 15
23. Martinez Racing Engineering + 2.833 13
24. Villa Racing Engineering + 2.847 4
25. Karjalainen BCN Competicion + 4.164 16