Johnny Cecotto grabs Monaco pole (Updated)

UPDATE Added results tables plus photo.


Johnny Cecotto

Johnny Cecotto was once again at ease driving in the streets of Monte-Carlo: the Arden driver set the fastest lap time of today’s Qualifying session in a 1:21.141 and thus grabbed pole position ahead of his teammate and rookie Mitch Evans.

As per last season, on the short Monegasque layout, the GP2 qualifying session was divided into two groups of fifteen minutes each. When Group A took to the track with all odd numbered cars, it was Cecotto who set the early pace, but Felipe Nasr was the first man to dip under 1m23s.

By mid-session, Sam Bird improved on the Brazilian’s lap time by three tenths, but the Brit’ handed the top spot to Marcus Ericsson when the Swede completed a lap time of 1:22.319. Cecotto however reminded the rest of the pack that he had dominated the competition here in Monaco last year and thus lapped the track 1.1s quicker than his closest rival. In the closing stages, it was everyone else’s job to try and reduce the gap to the Arden driver with Kevin Ceccon and Bird both also dipping under 1m22s, the British driver two tenths slower than Cecotto.

That’s when the Venezuelan found some extra pace to set a lap time of 1:21.141 with only one minute left on the clock and leaving his rivals the impossible task of finding the perfect lap. Bird was on the verge of doing just that after he set the first sector in purple and improved in the following two sectors, but it was not enough to deny Cecotto of the top spot.

After a ten minute break, Group B’s turn was up with all even numbered cars. Series leader Stefano Coletti was eager to please the crowd and set the early pace, and he was also the first man to break under the 1m22s barrier. Unfortunately for the local star, Jolyon Palmer went quicker. The Carlin man’s lap time was later bettered by rookie and GP2 race winner Robin Frijns.

The final stages of the session saw a four-way battle between Tom Dillmann, Evans, Palmer and Fabio Leimer, the latter lapping the track in 1:21.185 with only three minutes left on the clock. Evans had other plans though and on his final attempt, the New-Zealander set a lap time that challenged his teammate’s. However with a 1:21.157, Evans’ time was two hundredths too slow: it was enough to give him top spot of Group B, but not enough to snatch pole from Cecotto.

Behind the Arden pair, Bird will start from third ahead of Leimer, Ceccon, Palmer, Julian Leal, Dillmann, Nasr and Frijns. Cecotto is once again in the best possible position to repeat last year’s performance in tomorrow’s feature race, but on the twisty and challenging circuit of Monte Carlo, nothing is predictable.


Monte Carlo – Qualifying

Group A

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1. Johnny Cecotto Arden International 1:21.141 8
2. Sam Bird RUSSIAN TIME 1:21.509 11
3. Kevin Ceccon Trident Racing 1:21.986 10
4. Julian Lean Racing Engineering 1:22.092 11
5. Felipe Nasr Carlin 1:22.163 10
6. Marcus Ericsson DAMS 1:22.349 10
7. Alexander Rossi EQ8 Caterham Racing 1:22.511 10
8. Rio Haryanto* Barwa Addax Team 1:22.589 11
9. James Calado ART Grand Prix 1:22.677 11
10. Daniel De Jong MP Motorsport 1:22.943 11
11. Kevin Giovesi Venezuela GP Lazarus 1:23.006 10
12. Simon Trummer Rapax 1:23.017 11
13. Jon Lancaster Hilmer Motorsport 1:23.443 9

*will be dropped ten places following a penalty picked up in Barcelona Sprint Race

Group B

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1. Mitch Evans Arden International 1:21.157 10
2. Fabio Leimer Racing Engineering 1:21.185 10
3. Jolyon Palmer Carlin 1:21.198 11
4. Tom Dillmann RUSSIAN TIME 1:21.387 10
5. Robin Frijns Hilmer Motorsport 1:21.418 10
6. Sergio Canamasas EQ8 Caterham Racing 1:21.522 10
7. Stefano Coletti Rapax 1:21.568 11
8. Nathanael Berthon Trident Racing 1:22.245 7
9. Stéphane Richelmi DAMS 1:22.317 11
10. Rene Binder Venezuela GP Lazarus 1:22.376 10
11. Daniel Abt ART Grand Prix 1:22.716 11
12. Jake Rosenzweig Barwa Addax Team 1:22.842 11
13. Adrian Quaife-Hobbs MP Motorsport 1:23.328 10

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