Perfect Palmer doubles up in Portimao
Championship leader Jolyon Palmer secured his fifth pole of the 2010 campaign with a commanding performance in the second qualifying session in the Algarve.
Dean Stoneman had held top spot after going out early on fresh rubber, but his provisional pole time always looked slightly fragile and so it proved as Palmer hooked up a fantastic lap to finish more than two tenths clear of his fellow Briton.
"It's great - I'm really enjoying the track," said Palmer. "I was very confident coming in to today, I had good pace in the race yesterday and obviously pole as well, I knew I could do a good job so I just put my head down and concentrated on making the best of the boost lap and it worked!"
A resurgent Philipp Eng looked to be the only driver capable of toppling Palmer, but he eventually had to settle for second. Unfortunately for the Austrian, second will become 12th for this afternoon's race after he was handed a ten-place grid penalty by the stewards for an incident with Stoneman in Saturday's contest.
Eng and Stoneman were both happy with their performance however, after qualifying only sixth and ninth in the opening qualifying session. Both drivers admitted to making positive changes to their respective cars ahead of qualifying, and Stoneman in particular is confident of challenging for the top step of the rostrum this afternoon.
|(L to R) Eng, Palmer and Stoneman|
"We changed the car last night," said Stoneman. "We sat down with the engineer - it wasn't anything major, just a slight little tweak and obviously that made all the difference this morning.
"I'm good at keeping the car consistent, but we knew the car wasn't 100% - hopefully now we've solved the problem. It will be the same tactic as always, going all out for victory."
Eng's penalty promotes Nicola De Marco and the impressive Benjamin Lariche to the second row, which is the Frenchman's best ever qualifying position, having recorded a previous best of tenth at Silverstone.
Belgian Benjamin Bailly fell short of Lariche by just 0.010s, and Dutchman Kelvin Snoeks will line-up alongside the Zolder race winner on row three. British duo Jack Clarke and Will Bratt will be slightly disappointed to have qualified in eighth and ninth having shown front-running pace yesterday, whilst Mihai Marinescu rounded out the top ten - although he will start from ninth alongside Russia's Ivan Samarin.
The final F2 race of the Portimão weekend takes place at 1:05pm. The official Formula Two website will provide live video streaming, text commentary, results and reports.