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Leimer takes maiden GP2 pole in Abu Dhabi qualifying
Fabio Leimer
Fabio Leimer fought long and hard today to grab pole position in the final stages of an ultimately extremely close qualifying session. Already fast in this morning’s free practice session, the Swiss from Racing Engineering set his best laptime of 1:49.363 with five minutes left on the clock after recovering from a spin at Turn 19 earlier in the session.

Dani Clos at Rapax was the first one to top the timesheet when the pitlane opened, but Arden’s Josef Kral wasted no time in breaking under the 1m50s barrier and, half a second clear of his nearest rival. The Czech driver’s laptime remained unbeaten for most of the session leaving the rest of the field busy to try and close the gap. Leimer and Clos were next on the list of drivers under 1m50s, the Spaniard ending a mere 0.02s behind Kral.

Ten minutes into the session, Leimer put his head down and pushed even harder but he spun at Turn 19 momentarily ending his hopes for pole. At the mid-way point Kral was still solidly hanging on to P1 ahead of Clos, Luiz Razia, Jolyon Palmer, Kevin Ceccon and Leimer. As most of the field came back into the pits, the top nineteen drivers were running within 1s.

Top 3: Dani Clos (Rapax), Fabio Leimer (Racing Engineering), Josef Kral (Arden International)
Clos was the first back on track in the hopes of a clear track, but on his flying lap the Spaniard lost time in traffic of those on their outlap. Esteban Gutierrez was also on the hunt and found a clear lap. However, it was not enough and this morning’s fastest man sat in P6. With only five minutes left on the clock, Leimer finally found the extra pace and the needed clear lap to set the quickest laptime and take pole. Clos’ efforts put him in P2 edging out Kral to P3. At that precise moment Gutierrez stopped on the track with technical gremlins. The session was red flagged with only 3 minutes and 30 seconds left on the clock. When the session restarted, it was then too late for anyone to beat Leimer.

Behind the top three Razia secured a second row start ahead of Palmer, Max Chilton, Kevin Ceccon, Gutierrez, Tom Dillmann and Stefano Coletti.

2011 GP2 Final – Qualifying Session

Pos Driver Team Laptime Laps
1. Fabio Leimer Racing Engineering 1:49.363 11
2. Dani Clos Rapax 1:49.570 12
3. Josef Kral Arden International 1:49.612 11
4. Luiz Razia Caterham Team AirAsia 1:49.649 10
5. Jolyon Palmer Barwa Addax Team 1:49.697 12
6. Max Chilton Carlin 1:49.737 12
7. Kevin Ceccon Scuderia Coloni 1:49.751 12
8. Esteban Gutierrez Lotus ART 1:49.822 9
9. Tom Dillmann iSport International 1:50.070 11
10. Stefano Coletti Scuderia Coloni 1:50.070 10
11. Giacomo Ricci Super Nova Racing 1:50.074 12
12. James Calado Lotus ART 1:50.074 11
13. Nigel Melker Dams 1:50.147 11
14. Marcus Ericsson iSport International 1:50.230 11
15. Alexander Rossi Caterham Team AirAsia 1:50.236 11
16. Antonio Felix Da Costa Ocean Racing Technology 1:50.276 12
17. Nathanaël Berthon Racing Engineering 1:50.296 11
18. Jake Rosenzweig Barwa Addax Team 1:50.374 12
19 Julian Leal Trident Racing 1:50.374 14
20. Rio Haryanto Dams 1:50.515 11
21. Stéphane Richelmi Trident Racing 1:50.600 12
22. Simon Trummer Arden International 1:50.752 11
23. Fabio Onidi Super Nova Racing 1:51.052 13
24. Jan Charouz Carlin 1:51.407 12
25. Mihai Marinescu Rapax 1:51.893 13
26. Nicolas Marroc Ocean Racing Technology 1:52.550 10
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