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Roldan Rodriguez blitzes his way to pole

While everyone was waiting for Dams’ Kobayashi to sign pole position at the Shanghai track today, it was Spaniard Roldan Rodriguez who ended up at the prestigious spot on his last lap. The Japanese ace was almost once again the fastest man on track: after only four laps, he set the pace in a 1:45.492 and even went quicker at the chequered flag, but Rodriguez stole his thunder in a 1:45.233.

Another driver who could have gotten in the battle was Andreas Zuber, but the unfortunate FMS driver had to stop on his first out lap due to an engine problem. Nine minutes into qualifying, James Jakes lost control of his car and crashed. The session was red flagged for eight minutes. At that moment, Kobayashi was quickest ahead of Petrov and teammate d’Ambrosio, all three men under 1:46. With 21 minutes to go, the cars went back on track except for the two Dams. Ten minutes before the end of the session, Kobayashi and d’Ambrosio finally got back into action only to get back into the pits four minutes later as Al Fardan was stopped in the middle of the track: the Bahraini from GFH Team iSport lost the back of his car at turn 4 on cold tire.

When the session resumed again, Javier Villa and Giedo Van der Garde both improved enough to get in the Top 5. At the chequered flag, Kamui Kobayashi also improved his lap time in a 1:45.418. Seconds later, Roldan Rodriguez crossed the finish line flat out and snatched pole position. Javier Villa on Super Nova was third fastest.

Also improving at the very last minute was ART’s Yamamoto edging out Van der Garde for P4. Petrov, d’Ambrosio, Valsecchi, Bamber and Filippi complete the Top 10.

Roldan Rodriguez (Piquet GP): “It couldn’t be better. It’s perfect! Pole position at the last minute is the best way to start the season. I started on old tires and did only half a lap before the red flag. Then, on new tires, I couldn’t do a proper lap. I was fifth when the second red flag happened and all I had left was one last lap to improve… I went for it and it worked! Tomorrow, I’ll have no one in front: I’ll just push and I won’t think about what’s going on behind.”

Kamui Kobayashi (Dams): “At the chequered flag, I thought I had pole for sure. When they told me that Rodriguez went quicker in just one lap, I thought “how?!” I was a little bit unlucky because when I put the new tires, after two flying laps there was the second red flag. It’s frustrating because we had been waiting in the pit after the first red flag for the best time to get back onto the track. We were waiting to see who was improving. Still, I think that P2 is a good result. I have the car to go for the win tomorrow. Tomorrow, I’ll go for nothing but the win.”

Javier Villa (Super Nova Racing): “The session went very well. After a difficult season, I wanted to get a fresh start. We have been very competitive since we arrived in China. It was a complicated qualifying session, but we managed to push for two laps and get the best result possible. For tomorrow, starting from the front will make things easier. I’m very happy!”

Shanghai – Qualifications

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1. Roldan Rodriguez Piquet GP 1:45.233 13
2. Kamui Kobayashi Dams 1:45.418 10
3. Javier Villa Super Nova Racing 1:45.643 14
4. Sakon Yamamoto ART Grand Prix 1:45.643 10
5. Giedo Van der Garde GFH Team iSport 1:45.800 13
6. Vitaly Petrov Barwa Int. Campos Team 1:45.843 14
7. Jérôme d’Ambrosio Dams 1:45.885 11
8. Davide Valsecchi Durango 1:46.009 7
9. Earl Bamber My Qi-Meritus.Mahara 1:46.060 11
10. Luca Filippi BCN Competicion 1:46.084 15
11. Luiz Razia Trust Team Arden 1:46.130 13
12. Diego Nunes Piquet GP 1:46.169 12
13. Nelson Philippe ART Grand Prix 1:46.171 15
14. Hamad Al Fardan GFH Team iSport 1:46.305 8
15. Mika Maki Trust Team Arden 1:46.504 12
16. Chris Van der Drift Trident Racing 1:46.595 13
17. Yuhi Sekigushi DPR 1:46.733 13
18. Sergio Perez Barwa Int. Campos Team 1:46.809 13
19. Michael Herck DPR 1:46.843 15
20 Giacomo Ricci Trident Racing 1:47.010 13
21. Hiroki Yoshimoto BCN Competicion 1:47.231 12
22. Carlos Iaconelli Durango 1:47.355 16
23. Alex Yoong My Qi-Meritus.mahara 1:47.652 12
24. James Jakes Super Nova Racing 1:49.026 3
25 Kevin Nai Chia Chen Fisichella Motor Sport Int. 1:49.413 15
26 Andreas Zuber Fisichella Motor Sport Int. -- --

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