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Pic powers to Monza GP2 pole
Charles Pic has claimed his third pole position of the year, pipping local hero Luca Filippi to the post (and handing the Italian his fourth P2 in a row in qualifying) in this afternoon's scorching qualifying session in Monza, with Fabio Leimer claiming third with a time which was just one tenth off pole.

Pic's best lap time of 1:32.349 took the wind out of his rivals' sails just seven minutes into the session, although it wasn't for a lack of trying: 19 drivers were within a second of pole on the fast, flowing circuit, but the Frenchman's rivals were just unable to close the gap as the clock wound down to zero.

Filippi was determined to break his unwanted record of runner up positions in qualifying and soon set the fastest time: Leimer and then Romain Grosjean squeezed past at the top of the timesheets, but the Italian was soon back on top with what looked like an unassailable lap: unfortunately for him Pic had other ideas and snatched pole the next time through.

Filippi looked to have enough in the bank on the next lap, but when Esteban Gutierrez lost the rear and went backwards into the fence at the Ascari complex there was no choice but to back down, and the fight was over. Grosjean, Leimer and Alvaro Parente all ran wide in the closing minutes of the session as they looked for more speed, but the damage was done.

Parente and Grosjean follow the top three on the timesheets, ahead of Dani Clos, Christian Vietoris, Adam Carroll, Max Chilton and Sam Bird. The battle for the vice-champion took another twist when Giedo van der Garde and Jules Bianchi were unable to compete, finishing the session in P19 and P20 respectively. But tomorrow is another day, and we can expect the usual fireworks in the feature race in Monza.

Monza – Qualifying Session

Pos Driver Team Laptime Laps
1. Charles Pic Barwa Addax Team 1:32.349 13
2. Luca Filippi Scuderia Coloni 1:32.460 13
3. Fabio Leimer Rapax 1:32.485 15
4. Alvaro Parente Carlin 1:32.600 15
5. Romain Grosjean Dams 1:32.630 12
6. Dani Clos Racing Engineering 1:32.684 15
7. Christian Vietoris Racing Engineering 1:32.727 14
8. Adam Carroll Super Nova Racing 1:32.761 13
9. Sam Bird iSport International 1:32.801 12
10. Max Chilton Carlin 1:32.811 13
11. Jolyon Palmer Arden International 1:32.848 15
12. Josef Kral Arden International 1:32.858 14
13. Michael Herck Scuderia Coloni 1:32.865 13
14. Davide Valsecchi Caterham Team AirAsia 1:33.019 12
15. Marcus Ericsson iSport International 1:33.121 12
16. Rodolfo Gonzalez Trident Racing 1:33.129 15
17. Brendon Hartley Ocean Racing Technology 1:33.183 14
18. Luiz Razia Caterham Team AirAsia 1:33.206 14
19 Jules Bianchi Lotus ART 1:33.293 16
20. Giedo van der Garde Barwa Addax Team 1:33.297 13
21. Fairuz Fauzy Super Nova Racing 1:33.452 15
22. Johnny Cecotto Ocean Racing Technology 1:33.571 14
23. Julian Leal Rapax 1:33.646 15
24. Stéphane Richelmi Trident Racing 1:34.150 14
25. Esteban Gutierrez Lotus ART 1:35.228 3
26. Pal Varhaug Dams 1:39.190 6
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