Championship leader on top at home Giorgio Pantano's title aspirations were given another boost yesterday afternoon when he claimed the final pole position of the season at Monza ahead of Lucas di Grassi and Sébastien Buemi, with the Italian's championship rival Bruno Senna finishing in a lowly 12th position for today's penultimate race.
The championship leader's fastest lap of 1:31.220 took the top spot by just 0.019 seconds, but the two points picked up for pole give Pantano a 13 point cushion over Senna with a maximum score of just 18 points remaining in the title race.
The Brazilian was only seven tenths off the pace today but, on a day where 17 drivers were within a second of pole and all 25 were within two seconds, it was a bridge too far. Andreas Zuber, Pastor Maldonado and Lucas di Grassi initially fought over the top spot until Pantano took over just six minutes into the session, constantly improving his times over the period. Luca Filippi was the closest driver to his countryman's time for most of the session until di Grassi and Buemi just edged him out in the closing minutes of the session, pushing him back to fourth.
The iSport mechanics set to work on Senna's rear wing halfway through the session as he was clearly struggling for traction, but despite a small improvement he was unable to break into the top ten, which was rounded out by Vitaly Petrov, Pastor Maldonado, Andreas Zuber, Roldan Rodriguez, Javier Villa and Karun Chandhok.
While Senna will be pushing hard to keep the championship alive for the final race, he will also be wary of being overtaken by Lucas di Grassi, who starts from the front row and is just seven points behind his countryman.
Monza – Qualifications
Driver - Team - Time - Laps
1. Giorgio Pantano Racing Engineering 1:31.220 12
2. Lucas di Grassi Barwa Int. Campos Team 1:31.239 14
3. Sébastien Buemi Trust Team Arden 1:31.330 14
4. Luca Filippi Trust Team Arden 1:31.440 14
5. Vitaly Petrov Barwa Int. Campos Team 1:31.527 14
6. Pastor Maldonado Piquet Sports 1:31.546 14
7. Andreas Zuber Piquet Sports 1:31.663 13
8. Roldan Rodriguez Fisichella Motor Sport Int. 1:31708 16
9. Javier Villa Racing Engineering 1:31.797 15
10. Karun Chandhok iSport International 1:31.810 11
11. Romain Grosjean ART Grand Prix 1:31.949 13
12. Bruno Senna iSport International 1:31.964 15 1
3. Davide Valsecchi Durango 1:32.090 16
14. Sakon Yamamoto ART Grand Prix 1:32.092 14
15. Andy Soucek Super Nova Racing 1:32.165 14
16. Mike Conway Trident Racing 1:32.229 14
17. Diego Nunes DPR 1:32.236 14
18. Kamui Kobayashi Dams 1:32.361 16
19. Jérôme d’Ambrosio Dams 1:32.503 16
20 Alberto Valerio Durango 1:32.550 15
21. Alvaro Parente Super Nova Racing 1:32.604 15
22. Marko Aasmer Fisichella Motor Sport Int. 1:32.808 16
23. Ho-Pin Tung Trident Racing 1:32.817 14
24. Michael Herck DPR 1:33.021 16
25 Carlos Iaconelli BCN Competicion 1:33.264 16Click here for the Official Fisichella Motorsportweb site - designed and built by Racecar