Rodriguez puts his Piquet GP on pole on his last lap While everyone was waiting for Dams’ Kobayashi to sign pole position at the Shanghai track today, it was Spaniard Roldan Rodriguez who ended up at the prestigious spot on his last lap.
The Japanese ace was almost once again the fastest man on track: after only four laps, he set the pace in a 1:45.492 and even went quicker at the chequered flag, but Rodriguez stole his thunder in a 1:45.233. Another driver who could have gotten in the battle was Andreas Zuber, but the unfortunate FMS driver had to stop on his first outlap due to an engine problem. Nine minutes into qualifying, James Jakes lost control of his car and crashed.
The session was red flagged for eight minutes. At that moment, Kobayashi was quickest ahead of Petrov and teammate d’Ambrosio, all three men under 1:46. With 21 minutes to go, the cars went back on track except for the two Dams.
Ten minutes before the end of the session, Kobayashi and d’Ambrosio finally got back into action only to get back into the pits four minutes later as Al Fardan was stopped in the middle of the track: the Bahraini from GFH Team iSport lost the back of his car at turn 4 on cold tyre. When the session resumed again, Javier Villa and Giedo Van der Garde both improved enough to get in the Top 5.
At the chequered flag, Kamui Kobayashi also improved his laptime in a 1:45.418. Seconds later, Roldan Rodriguez crossed the finish line flat out and snatched pole position. Javier Villa on Super Nova was third fastest.
Also improving at the very last minute was ART’s Yamamoto edging out Van der Garde for P4. Petrov, d’Ambrosio, Valsecchi, Bamber and Filippi complete the
Roldan Rodriguez (Piquet GP): “It couldn’t be better. It’s perfect! Pole position at the last minute is the best way to start the season. I started on old tyres and did only half a lap before the red flag. Then, on new tyres, I couldn’t do a proper lap. I was fifth when the second red flag happened and all I had left was one last lap to improve… I went for it and it worked! Tomorrow, I’ll have no one in front: I’ll just push and I won’t think about what’s going on behind.”
Kamui Kobayashi (Dams): “At the chequered flag, I thought I had pole for sure. When they told me that Rodriguez went quicker in just one lap, I thought “how?!” I was a little bit unlucky because when I put the new tyres, after two flying laps there was the second red flag. It’s frustrating because we had been waiting in the pit after the first red flag for the best time to get back onto the track. We were waiting to see who was improving. Still, I think that P2 is a good result. I have the car to go for the win tomorrow. Tomorrow, I’ll go for nothing but the win.”
Javier Villa (Super Nova Racing): “The session went very well. After a difficult season, I wanted to get a fresh start. We have been very competitive since we arrived in China. It was a complicated qualifying session, but we managed to push for two laps and get the best result possible. For tomorrow, starting from the front will make things easier. I’m very happy!”