GP2: Vandoorne dashes to seventh GP2 pole

Vandoorne and Nobuharu Matsushita jpg.jpg
ART teammates Vandoorne and Nobuharu Matsushita lockout front row

Once again on stellar form, Series leader Stoffel Vandoorne achieved a record today at the Red Bull Ring by snatching his seventh pole position, the most in GP2’s history. With a lap time of 1:14.174, he beat his teammate Nobuharu Matsushita by 0.089s. Just like in the first round of the season at Sakhir, it will be an all ART Grand Prix front row. Pierre Gasly completed the top three.

The sun appeared above the Austrian track as the pitlane opened and the drivers fed onto it on Supersoft Pirelli tires. This morning’s fastest man Sergey Sirotkin was the early pace setter and the first stint of the session saw him and Vandoorne swapping places at the top of the standings. Both drivers even clocked in an identical lap time of 1.14.721 at one point. Just before the halfway mark, Sirotkin reclaimed provisional pole having lapped the track in a 1:14.966.

Most of the cars returned to the pits and Nick Yelloly could enjoy a clear track to move up to fourth. With ten minutes left on the clock, the action resumed and on a fresh set of rubber, most drivers improved but none bettered Sirotkin’s lap time. The Rapax man went even quicker and hoped that it was enough, but it wasn’t: Vandoorne put his head down and in a final effort set up a lap time two tenths better than the Russian driver.

In the dying minutes, Matsushita also found some extra pace to pip Sirotkin. Gasly was also able to improve and moved up to third at the checkered flag. Behind the top four, Rio Haryanto, Raffaele Marciello, Yelloly, Jordan King (who will lose three grid places following a penalty picked up in Monte Carlo Sprint Race), Arthur Pic and Alex Lynn completed the top ten.

Spielberg – Qualifying Session*

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1. Stoffel Vandoorne ART Grand Prix 1:14.174 15
2. Nobuharu Matsushita ART Grand Prix 1:14.263 15
3. Pierre Gasly DAMS 1:14.300 15
4. Sergey Sirotkin Rapax 1:14.434 17
5. Rio Haryanto Campos Racing 1:14.481 15
6. Raffaele Marciello Trident 1:14.483 16
7. Nick Yelloly Hilmer Motorsport 1:14.538 17
8. Jordan King Racing Engineering 1:14.574 16
9. Arthur Pic Campos Racing 1:14.650 15
10. Alex Lynn DAMS 1:14.574 16
11. Mitch Evans RUSSIAN TIME 1:14.861 15
12. Alexander Rossi Racing Engineering 1:14.881 15
13. Julian Leal Carlin 1:14.893 15
14. Richie Stanaway Status Grand Prix 1:14.922 13
15. Artem Markelov RUSSIAN TIME 1:14.978 16
16. Norman Nato Arden International 1:14.996 16
17. Rene Binder Trident 1:15.030 15
18. Daniel De Jong MP Motorsport 1:15.207 16
19 Robert Visoiu Rapax 1:15.396 17
20. Marlon Stockinger Status Grand Prix 1:15.434 14
21. André Negrao Arden International 1:15.537 13
22. Nathanael Berthon Daiko Team Lazarus 1:15.750 15
23. Marco Sorensen Carlin 1:15.853 15
24. Simon Trummer Hilmer Motorsport 1:16.159 18

*Car #27 Zoel Amberg was unfit to take part in the qualifying session

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