Kovalainen Claims Monaco Pole

Heikki Kovalainen was the fastest man in an action-packed qualifying session in Monaco, which ended with the top three drivers split by less than one tenth of a second

Kovalainen Claims Monaco Pole

Kovalainen's time of 1:24.665 was just good enough for pole, edging out Gianmaria Bruni by half a tenth of a second, and Adam Carroll by less than a tenth of a second.

But the talking point of the session was Nelson Piquet Jr's collision with Can Artam, who moved over on the clearly faster Piquet coming down the hill towards Mirabeau.

Piquet, who was one of the fastest drivers on track in free practice, looked set for a very good laptime until the move put him out with broken suspension, and he will now start near the back of the grid tomorrow in his first ever race in Monaco, the town in which he grew up.

The weight of expectation was clearly evident on the Brazilian's face when he returned to the pits - after shaking his fist at Artam as he drove along the pitlane, Piquet subsequently looked close to tears before leaving the circuit.

Jose Maria Lopez and Hiroke Yoshimoto will share his pain - both men were unable to run a single lap, Lopez due to gearbox problems and Yoshimoto owing to the continuation of his engine maladies.

Ernesto Viso will also be disappointed - he hit the wall on approach to St. Devote, putting himself out of the session immediately with a severely damaged car.

Olivier Pla also found the wall - he ran slightly too far to the left at Portier and clipped the barriers. His DPR team will have a lot of work on their hands today - teammate Ryan Sharp retired with a smoking engine, which will need to be replaced.

Despite Pla's accident he managed to set the fourth fastest time, just three tenths off Kovalainen's pole time, which will set up an intriguing battle off the line in tomorrow's race.

Pos Driver Team Time Laps 1. Kovalainen Arden International 1:24.665 17 2. Bruni Coloni Motorsport 1:24.724 + 0.059 14 3. Carroll Super Nova International 1:24.751 + 0.086 17 4. Pla DPR 1:24.996 + 0.331 13 5. Speed iSport International 1:25.405 + 0.740 18 6. Piccione Durango 1:25.483 + 0.818 17 7. Rosberg ART Grand Prix 1:25.494 + 0.829 18 8. Pantano Super Nova International 1:25.709 + 1.044 15 9. Jani Racing Engineering 1:25.918 + 1.253 14 10. Lapierre Arden International 1:26.083 + 1.418 16 11. Premat ART Grand Prix 1:26.287 + 1.622 18 12. Alvarez Campos Racing 1:26.463 + 1.798 13 13. Monfardini Durango 1:27.168 + 2.503 17 14. Garcia Racing Engineering 1:27.260 + 2.595 15 15. Viso BCN Competicion 1:27.307 + 2.642 3 16. Lauda Coloni Motorsport 1:28.401 + 3.736 19 17. Fauzy DAMS 1:28.853 + 4.188 12 18. Hernandez Campos Racing 1:28.947 + 4.282 15 19. Artam iSport International 1:29.941 + 5.276 17 Did Not Qualify (over 107%): Sharp DPR 1:36.477 + 11.812 4 Negrao Hitech Piquet Sports 1:55.008 + 30.343 8 Piquet Jr. Hitech Piquet Sports 2:01.514 + 36.849 3 Lopez DAMS No Time 2 
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