GP2: Gasly grabs pole in Barcelona

Pierre Gasly
Pierre Gasly

Pierre Gasly emerged on top in a dramatic qualifying session this afternoon at the Circuit de Catalunya, grabbing his fourth GP2 pole (and third in a row) and the first for PREMA Racing on their series debut in the closing minutes to deny Norman Nato and Alex Lynn as the clock ticked down to zero.

The Red Bull tester stopped the clock at 1:27.807, the last of a string of drivers to stake a claim for the top spot as the times tumbled towards the end of the session, blasting the dreams of his rivals as he finished four tenths to the good over his countryman.

The session opened to warm temperatures but ominous looking clouds, and when the field took to the circuit everyone's fears looked like coming true as spots of rain were seen on the on-board cameras and a few drivers were sliding already before their fast laps, but it held off as the times became real with Nato, Sergey Sirotkin, Oliver Rowland and Gasly all spent time on the top of the timesheets on their first sets of tyros.

As the sky darkened so did moods in the pitlane, with ART taking a gamble and sending their drivers out early on a new set: Nobuharu Matsushita grabbed P3 and Sirotkin went two better as their rivals emerged, and the French team looked to the skies to see if their plan was going to pay off. But as the clock ticked down the rain held off as first Lynn, then Nato, and finally Gasly grabbed the top spot .

Behind Lynn was DAMS teammate Nicholas Latifi, Sirotkin, Gustav Malja, Rowland, Matsushita, Artem Markelov and top rookie Luca Ghiotto, all of them improving on their second sets in an increasingly fast session (last year's pole position for Stoffel Vandoorne would have only grabbed P12 today), which suggests a blistering pace in tomorrow's feature race here in Barcelona.

Round 1, Barcelona – Qualifying

Pos

Driver

Team

Laptime

Laps

1.

Pierre Gasly

PREMA Racing

1:27.807

9

2.

Norman Nato

Racing Engineering

1:28.271

11

3.

Alex Lynn

DAMS

1:28.458

9

4.

Nicholas Latifi

DAMS

1:28.563

10

5.

Sergey Sirotkin

ART Grand Prix

1:28.655

10

6.

Gustav Malja

Rapax

1:28.695

12

7.

Oliver Rowland

MP Motorsport

1:28.807

10

8.

Nobuharu Matsushita

ART Grand Prix

1:29.128

11

9.

Artem Markelov

RUSSIAN TIME

1:29.129

13

10.

Luca Ghiotto

Trident

1:29.143

13

11.

Antonio Giovinazzi

PREMA Racing

1:29.163

10

12.

Raffaele Marciello

RUSSIAN TIME

1:29.274

10

13.

Jordan King

Racing Engineering

1:29.322

11

14.

Arthur Pic

Rapax

1:29.385

11

15.

Sergio Canamasas

Carlin

1:29.397

12

16.

Marvin Kirchhöfer

Carlin

1:29.440

11

17.

Daniël de Jong

MP Motorsport

1:29.464

12

18.

Mitch Evans

Pertamina Campos Racing

1:29.478

10

19

Jimmy Eriksson

Arden International

1:29.942

12

20.

Nabil Jeffri

Arden International

1:30.254

11

21.

Sean Gelael

Pertamina Campos Racing

1:30.304

10

22.

Philo Paz Armand

Trident

1:30.609

13

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