Dam’s Jérôme d’Ambrosio is slowly, but surely, imposing his pace and skills on the GP2 Asia Series’ field. In a tight fight for pole position today that saw twenty-two drivers finishing within a second of each other, the Belgian came out victorious and signed his first GP2 pole position, adding two points to his total and hence entering the Top Five of the drivers’ standings.
Raindrops fell onto the Sepang International Circuit ten minutes before the start of this afternoon’s qualifying session. As the lights went green, only half of the cars chose to test the grip of the track, mainly equipped in wet tires. While Championship leader Kamui Kobayashi stayed put in the pitlane, his teammate d’Ambrosio went into a reconnaissance lap in slick tires. Those who chose the wet tires option rapidly came back to the pits in order to change to slick compounds.
The first man who posted a significant lap time was Diego Nunes at Piquet GP in a 1:46.940, ten minutes into the session. A battle for the pole position ensued between the two Dams men, the two Piquet racers, Durango’s Davide Valsecchi and a flying James Jakes at the wheel of his Super Nova machine.
But it was Jérôme d’Ambrosio that eventually set camp at the top of the timing sheet only to be dethroned for just a few minutes by Nunes. In the very last stages of the session, Jérôme d’Ambrosio went on a flyer and crossed the finish line in a 1:45.410. Winner of last year’s Malaysian sprint race, Kamui Kobayashi set his best lap time in his very last attempt, but will start fourth tomorrow.
Behind the Belgian, the battle for second place was full on between Nunes and Jakes, but the Brazilian from Piquet GP eventually landed with tomorrow’s front row position while the Brit finished with a satisfying third position. In fifth place, Javier Villa in the second Super Nova car keeps up with his good form displayed last week in Barcelona’s test.
Impressive in Losail last round, today was another story for the Barwa squad: sixth in the session, Vitaly Petrov salvaged a disappointing qualifying result from teammate Sergio Perez, eighteenth. Behind the Russian, Davide Valsecchi at Durango keeps his title hopes alive with a seventh position, ahead of ART’s Pastor Maldonado, Roldan Rodriguez on the second Piquet car and Alvaro Parente driving for local heroes Qi-Meritus.
Tomorrow’s feature race will start at 12.00, local time.
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