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GP2 Bahrain: Jolyon Palmer beats Vandoorne to first pole of 2014

Jolyon Palmer started the GP2 season in the best possible manner by setting pole position for the Bahrain opener, although McLaren junior driver Stoffel Vandoorne ran him close.

DAMS driver Palmer lapped the Sakhir track in 1m38.865s, just 0.03s quicker than ART Grand Prix's Vandoorne after a thrilling qualifying session.

The top spot changed hands a number of times between a succession of drivers, but Palmer delivered the lap time when it mattered most after a brief red flag interruption to retrieve Artem Markelov's spun car.

The key to Palmer's pole was his fastest middle sector of the lap, as he gave away a tenth to Vandoorne in the final element. The result was Palmer's second pole in GP2.

Daniel Abt will start third for Hilmer, having topped the times after the first runs on fresh tyres. He was a fifth of a second down on Palmer's time at the end, and just 0.008s faster than fourth-placed qualifier Stephane Richelmi in the second DAMS car.

Rio Haryanto qualified fifth for Caterham, ahead of Racing Engineering's Stefano Coletti.

Mitch Evans, who set the pace early on, slipped down the order to seventh, just ahead of Williams F1 tester Felipe Nasr, who was involved in a turf war with category veteran Johnny Cecotto Jr on the final lap.

Ferrari protege Raffaele Marciello will start his maiden GP2 race from ninth, ahead of fellow rookie Arthur Pic, who impressed on Campos Racing's return.

Of the other contenders expected to shine, Jon Lancaster qualified outside the top 10 in 11th, and Alexander Rossi slumped to 15th after a bright start for Caterham.

Pos Driver               Team                 Time       Gap     Laps
 1. Jolyon Palmer        DAMS                 1m38.865s           10
 2. Stoffel Vandoorne    ART                  1m38.895s  +0.030s  10
 3. Daniel Abt           Hilmer               1m39.073s  +0.208s  10
 4. Stephane Richelmi    DAMS                 1m39.081s  +0.216s  10
 5. Rio Haryanto         Caterham             1m39.228s  +0.363s  11
 6. Stefano Coletti      Racing Engineering   1m39.271s  +0.406s  11
 7. Mitch Evans          Russian Time         1m39.274s  +0.409s  9
 8. Felipe Nasr          Carlin               1m39.301s  +0.436s  10
 9. Raffaele Marciello   Racing Engineering   1m39.449s  +0.584s  10
10. Arthur Pic           Campos               1m39.462s  +0.597s  10
11. Jon Lancaster        MP                   1m39.507s  +0.642s  10
12. Julian Leal          Carlin               1m39.588s  +0.723s  12
13. Johnny Cecotto       Trident              1m39.615s  +0.750s  10
14. Andre Negrao         Arden                1m39.647s  +0.782s  10
15. Alexander Rossi      Caterham             1m39.651s  +0.786s  10
16. Kimiya Sato          Campos               1m39.749s  +0.884s  11
17. Rene Binder          Arden                1m39.788s  +0.923s  9
18. Conor Daly           Lazarus              1m39.848s  +0.983s  10
19. Facu Regalia         Hilmer               1m39.881s  +1.016s  12
20. Nathanael Berthon    Lazarus              1m39.928s  +1.063s  8
21. Simon Trummer        Rapax                1m40.059s  +1.194s  11
22. Daniiel De Jong      MP                   1m40.060s  +1.195s  10
23. Takuya Izawa         ART                  1m40.401s  +1.536s  11
24. Adrian Quaife-Hobbs  Rapax                1m40.408s  +1.543s  10
25. Axcil Jefferies      Trident              1m40.619s  +1.754s  11
26. Artem Markelov       Russian Time         1m41.172s  +2.307s  5

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