Monza, Qualifying: Venturini grabs first 2011 pole
The first pole position of the 2011 Auto GP season goes to an Under 21 driver: Giovanni Venturini, one of the series' rookies, confirmed the great pace he showed in the Free Practice sessions and on a slower track compared to the morning, mainly due to hot temperatures, he took the Griffitz Durango car at the top of the sheets, being the only driver to break the 1'36" mark with 1'35"936.
Venturini also confirmed Auto GP as the quickest car of the Monza weekend, with nearly an 1"5 advantage on the fastest Ws by Renault car. Behind Venturini was Fabrizio Crestani, but with just a 0.08 gap: the Lazarus driver tried to grab pole until the last seconds of the session, with Adrien Tambay doing the same behind him.
The Gravity-Charouz DAMS driver was third, but just 0.1 adrift from the top spot. With the first three drivers packed in one tenth, the fight was just as close behind them. Luca Filippi was 4th with 1'36"183, ahead of Fabio Onidi, Samuele Buttarelli, Sergei Afanasiev and Kevin Ceccon, with just a bit more than a tenth between the first and the latter of this bunch. Adrian Zaugg wasn't far from them with 1'36"567, while the gap between pole position and 10th placed Marco Barba, with the first Campos Racing car, was just 6 tenths. A bit further behind was Rio Haryanto, in P11 ahead of Pasquale di Sabatino, Bruno Mendez, Giuseppe Cipriani and Francesco Dracone. Adrian Campos Jr. didn't take part in this qualifying session: after his crash in the Free Practice he was taken to the hospital and he is undergoing checks due to a back pain.
Giovanni Venturini: "A pole is the best way to start the season and doing it as a rookie makes it even better. I knew that I was quick so with my first set of tires I focused on securing a good laptime, without pushing too much. With the second set I really gave it all, but on the lap that was supposed to be my best I did a mistake at the second chicane. Initially I thought that it was over, but I managed to get another flying lap and that was the right one!".
Fabrizio Crestani: "My ideal lap was quicker than Venturini's pole, but traffic ruined my best lap. With the team we decided to go for it on the last available lap, but doing this I found a lot of slowing cars on my line, and in Parabolica this costed me a lot. Anyway 1st row is great for tomorrow's race".
Adrien Tambay: "Obviously pole position would have been better, but third is fine considering that our Practices weren't exactly brilliant. I was waiting for this qualifying after a really long winter stop, so I gave all I had and the outcome was very good. Now I hope to do the same tomorrow".
Monza, 13 Maggio, Qualifying
1. Giovanni Venturini Griffitz Durango 1:35.936
2. Fabrizio Crestani Lazarus 1:36.014
3. Adrien Tambay Gravity - Charouz Dams 1:36.047
4. Luca Filippi Supernova Racing 1:36.183
5. Fabio Onidi Lazarus 1:36.340
6. Samuele Buttarelli TP Formula 1:36.350
7. Sergi Afanasiev Dams 1:36.394
8. Kevin Ceccon Ombra Racing 1:36.506
9. Adrian Zaugg Supernova Racing 1:36.567
10. Marco Barba Campos Racing 1:36.645
11. Rio Haryanto Dams 1:36.929
12. Pasquale Di Sabatino Ombra Racing 1:37.503
13. Bruno Mendez Campos Racing 1:37.617
14. Giuseppe Cipriano Griffitz Durango 1:38.064
15. Francesco Dracone Emmebi Motorsport 1:38.879