Lynn takes GP2 pole in dramatic session

Alex Lynn

Williams F1 test driver Alex Lynn grabbed his second GP2 pole position in a dramatic qualifying session at a wet/dry Sochi Autodrom: the DAMS racer set the best laptime of 2:01.850 in the dying minutes ahead of Series leader Stoffel Vandoorne and Alexander Rossi.

The pitlane opened in cooler temperatures than this morning’s free practice, and on a wet track. But as the clock ticked down, the conditions improved (but not enough that the drivers could switch to slick Pirelli tires), and so did the laptimes with the top spot switching hands constantly. It rapidly became clear that the pole position would be decided on everyone’s final attempt.

From left, Vandoorne, Lynn and Rossi
From left, Vandoorne, Lynn and Rossi

All eyes were on Series leader Vandoorne and his title rival Rossi: the Belgian topped the timesheets midway through the session, but the American bettered Vandoorne’s laptime by two tenths with ten minutes left on the clock.

The final stages saw an epic denouement: Pierre Gasly went P1 ahead of Arthur Pic, but Rossi improved again to edge out the Frenchman from DAMS from the top spot. Then Vandoorne dipped under 2m02s and went top, but Lynn crossed the finish line seconds later with a laptime good enough to deny the Belgian. He had no other choice but to go for a final try.

As Lynn returned to the pits, Vandoorne was stuck in a bit of traffic in the final sector. He decided to slow down in order to create a gap to the cars in front of him, and get ready for one last charge for pole. Unfortunately, he lifted off a bit too much and crossed the finish line a mere second after the checkered flag dropped and had to settle for second ahead of Rossi. Gasly, Pic, Johnny Cecotto, Raffaele Marciello, Richie Stanaway, Norman Nato and Sergey Sirotkin completed the top ten.

Sochi – Qualifying session

Pos Driver Team Laptime Laps
1. Alex Lynn DAMS 2:01.840 11
2. Stoffel Vandoorne ART Grand Prix 2:01.878 12
3. Alexander Rossi Racing Engineering 2:02.141 13
4. Pierre Gasly DAMS 2:02.285 11
5. Arthur Pic Campos Racing 2:02.450 12
6. Johnny Cecotto Trident 2:02.690 13
7. Raffaele Marciello Trident 2:02.709 12
8. Richie Stanaway Status Grand Prix 2:02.998 12
9. Norman Nato Arden International 2:03.133 14
10. Sergey Sirotkin Rapax 2:03.223 13
11. Andre Negrao Arden International 2:03.382 13
12. Nobuharu Matsushita ART Grand Prix 2:03.519 12
13. Rio Haryanto Campos Racing 2:03.523 14
14. Jordan King* Racing Engineering 2:03.622 13
15. Nicholas Latifi MP Motorsport 2:03.731 13
16. Marlon Stockinger Status Grand Prix 2:03.751 12
17. Artem Markelov RUSSIAN TIME 2:04.004 13
18. Mitch Evans RUSSIAN TIME 2:04.072 12
19 Dean Stoneman Carlin 2:04.093 12
20. Nathanael Berthon Daiko Team Lazarus 2:04.658 12
21. Rene Binder MP Motorsport 2:04.994 11
22. Sergio Canamasas Daiko Team Lazarus 2:04.998 13
23. Robert Visoiu* Rapax 2:05.784 14
24. Sean Gelael Carlin 2:08.361 11

*Both drivers will lose 5 gird places on tomorrow’s starting grid following a penalty picked in Monza Sprint Race.

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