Fabrizio Crestani takes pole for first Auto GP race at Oschersleben
|By Sam Tremayne||Friday, July 29th 2011, 14:57 GMT|
Fabrizio Crestani snatched pole position for the opening Auto GP race of the weekend, taking it away from Sergei Afanasiev in the final minutes of qualifying at Oschersleben.
Times had already dipped below the official lap record when most drivers pitted for fresh rubber halfway through the session, and with the track yielding increasing levels of grip Crestani took full advantage to grab the top spot four minutes from the end for the Lazarus team.
Afanasiev had held provisional pole before the tyre changes and improved his pole mark again with five minutes to go, only to be demoted by Crestani's effort of 1m17.084s, which gave the Italian his maiden pole in the series.
The Russian DAMS driver attempted to respond, becoming the only driver to dip under the 30s bracket in the first sector on his next lap, but was robbed of his pole chance as an accident for Francesco Dracone in sector two brought the red flags out.
With just three minutes remaining when the track went green, nobody inside the top eight was able to improve, leaving Kevin Ceccon (Ombra) and Fabio Onidi (Lazarus) with a share of the second row.
Giovanni Venturini, Samuele Buttarelli and Adrien Tambay all finished within 0.4s of pole in fifth to seventh for the Durango, TP and Campos teams respectively - Tambay managing his best time despite a damaged front wing.
On his Auto GP debut, Formula Renault 3.5 front-runner Kevin Korjus (DAMS) qualified in eighth, ahead of Campos duo Bruno Mendez and Adrian Campos Jr - the latter being only driver to improve his grid position when the session resumed.
Pasquale di Sabatino completed just three laps as he went off the circuit at the Turn 1 complex, but was still able to secure 12th.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Fabrizio Crestani Lazarus 1m17.084s 2. Sergei Afanasiev DAMS 1m17.193s + 0.109s 3. Kevin Ceccon Ombra 1m17.201s + 0.117s 4. Fabio Onidi Lazarus 1m17.387s + 0.303s 5. Giovanni Venturini Durango 1m17.432s + 0.348s 6. Samuele Buttarelli TP 1m17.452s + 0.368s 7. Adrien Tambay Campos 1m17.456s + 0.372s 8. Kevin Korjus DAMS 1m17.891s + 0.807s 9. Bruno Mendez Campos 1m17.946s + 0.862s 10. Adrian Campos Jr Campos 1m18.492s + 1.408s 11. Daniel de Jong MP 1m18.554s + 1.470s 12. Pasquale di Sabatino TP 1m18.984s + 1.900s 13. Giuseppe Cipriani Durango 1m20.218s + 3.134s 14. Francesco Dracone Emmebi 1m20.447s + 3.363s