Maldonado storms to GP2 pole

Pastor  Maldonado  underlined  the  morning’s  strong  performance  by  Piquet  Sports  dominating yesterdday’s qualifying session at the Circuit de Catalunya, claiming today’s pole position ahead of Alvaro Parente and teammate Andreas Zuber.

The  Colombian  driver  was  fast  throughout  the  thirty  minute  session,  constantly  improving  on  his own laptimes to finish with a best time of 1:27.547, 0.158 seconds ahead of Parente and a full six tenths ahead of his third placed teammate.

The  session  took  place  under  clear  blue  skies,  with  the  temperature  only  slightly  down  from  this morning’s hot free practice session. Right from the start the Piquet pair were swapping fastest laps as  they  tried  to  outdo  each  other  and  claim  the  first  pole  position  of  the  new  season:  Romain Grosjean, Luca Filippi and Giorgio Pantano were all in the mix, but comparatively they seemed to be working much harder to get there.

Nine minutes into the session Sébastien Buemi had a big accident: coming into turn eight at speed he  was  caught  out  by  a  slower  car  on  the  racing  line  and  had  to  swerve  onto  the  grass  in avoidance, which threw his car across the track and backwards into the wall, the Swiss driver just a passenger as all his good work was lost in an instant, with the red flags brought out as he looked for a lift back to the pits. At the restart it was Maldonado who was immediately on the pace, claiming the top spot and then eating away at his own times: despite Zuber’s best intentions there was nothing he could offer in reply to his teammate.

Bruno Senna was soon out of the session when his car threw him off at the chicane, while Grosjean stopped as a result of mechanical gremlins not long after, with teammate Filippi following him  a few minutes afterwards. Parente saved his best effort for the end, claiming the front row for his first ever  GP2 start in the last minute of the session, while Senna will line up behind  him  on  the  grid  in  fourth  place  despite  his  problems,  ahead  of  Pantano,  Adrian  Valles, Karun Chandhok and Vitaly Petrov.

Once again the top nine drivers were split by just one second, with a further second covering the grid down to 21st position. With similarly good weather forecast for tomorrow afternoon’s first race of the season, the omens are shaping up for an action packed debut for the new GP2-08 car and their drivers.