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Charles Pic takes initiative in battle for GP2 runner-up spot with race one pole at Monza

Charles Pic, Addax, Monza 2011Addax driver Charles Pic beat Coloni's Luca Filippi to GP2 pole position at Monza, while the two drivers leading the fight for second in the championship could only make the 10th row of the grid.

The front row men took up those positions early in the session, and then remained at the top of the pile as very few drivers improved on
their second sets of tyres.

Fabio Leimer (Rapax) was one of the few drivers to put in a better lap in the second half of the session, and that was enough to earn him third on the grid ahead of Alvaro Parente (Carlin).

DAMS' Romain Grosjean had to settle for fifth after a messy 30 minutes which included a wild off on the exit of the first Lesmo with just over five minutes remaining.

But it was towards the back of the field where the real action was. Both Giedo van der Garde (Addax) and Jules Bianchi (ART) had failed to get a quick lap in before Esteban Gutierrez crashed the other ART car on the exit of the Ascari chicane nine minutes into qualifying.

The second and third placed men in the championship initially stayed out on track, but both pitted due to the prolonged yellow flags that were out while the Mexican's car was recovered. At that stage, Bianchi was 18th and van der Garde 21st.

Both then had their second runs heavily disrupted by traffic. Bianchi had a near miss when Parente tried to pass him into the first chicane, while van der Garde hit traffic in the middle of Ascari on his final flying lap.

That meant the Dutchman could only improve to 19th, which became 20th when Bianchi improved by fractions with his final lap of the session.

Their misfortune hands the initiative to Pic in the battle for second in the standings, as the Frenchman is just five points behind van der Garde thanks to his two points for pole.

Pos  Driver               Team                Time       Gap
 1.  Charles Pic          Addax               1m32.349s
 2.  Luca Filippi         Coloni              1m32.460s  + 0.111s
 3.  Fabio Leimer         Rapax               1m32.485s  + 0.136s
 4.  Alvaro Parente       Carlin              1m32.600s  + 0.251s
 5.  Romain Grosjean      DAMS                1m32.630s  + 0.281s
 6.  Dani Clos            Racing Engineering  1m32.684s  + 0.335s
 7.  Christian Vietoris   Racing Engineering  1m32.727s  + 0.378s
 8.  Adam Carroll         Super Nova          1m32.761s  + 0.412s
 9.  Sam Bird             iSport              1m32.801s  + 0.452s
10.  Max Chilton          Carlin              1m32.811s  + 0.462s
11.  Jolyon Palmer        Arden               1m32.848s  + 0.499s
12.  Josef Kral           Arden               1m32.858s  + 0.509s
13.  Michael Herck        Coloni              1m32.865s  + 0.516s
14.  Davide Valsecchi     AirAsia             1m33.019s  + 0.670s
15.  Marcus Ericsson      iSport              1m33.121s  + 0.772s
16.  Rodolfo Gonzalez     Trident             1m33.129s  + 0.780s
17.  Brendon Hartley      Ocean               1m33.183s  + 0.834s
18.  Luiz Razia           AirAsia             1m33.206s  + 0.857s
19.  Jules Bianchi        ART                 1m33.293s  + 0.944s
20.  Giedo van der Garde  Addax               1m33.297s  + 0.948s
21.  Fairuz Fauzy         Super Nova          1m33.452s  + 1.103s
22.  Johnny Cecotto       Ocean               1m33.571s  + 1.222s
23.  Julian Leal          Rapax               1m33.646s  + 1.297s
24.  Stephane Richelmi    Trident             1m34.150s  + 1.801s
25.  Esteban Gutierrez    ART                 1m35.228s  + 2.879s
26.  Pal Varhaug          DAMS                1m39.190s  + 6.841s
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