Lapierre Claims First GP2 Pole

Nicolas Lapierre has claimed the first ever GP2 pole by just five thousands of a second in an eventful qualifying session at Imola

Lapierre Claims First GP2 Pole

The Arden driver set the best time just seconds before the end of the thirty minute session, pipping Super Nova's Giorgio Pantano, who had look set to make pole his own after holding the top spot for the final third of the session.

In glorious sunshine the field moved out on track as the green light was shown, with Gianmaria Bruni again the early pace setter with a time of 1:34.187. However, technical gremlins struck early once again, this time affecting Hiroki Yoshimoto and Sergio Hernandez, with both cars being stuck out on track.

Clivio Piccione was at least able to creep back to the pitlane, but was unable to go any further while, on his third circuit, Nelson Piquet spun his car twice and required a push from the marshalls to get underway again.

Ryan Sharp was also hit by an electrical problem, and was slowly working his way back to the pits as Juan Cruz Alvarez found him on the exit of a corner ­- it was only the Spaniard's quick reflects which stopped a serious accident.

At the 15 minute mark Bruni held the fastest time, just two tenths ahead of Ernesto Viso and Heikki Kovalainen while the DPR pit was a hive of activity, with both cars being worked on feverishly. Hitech's Xandi Negrao was also stuck in the pits as his engineers were busy under the engine cover.

With ten minutes to go Pantano set his benchmark time, taking advantage of a relatively clear track before the traffic increased with all remaining drivers on their second set of tyres and setting off on their hot laps.

Premat overcooked his lap, spinning off into the gravel after losing the rear of his car, while Kovalainen and Can Artam crawled to a stop on the side of the track, more victims of the latest GP2 bug, while Scott Speed lost what looked like a quick lap after finding traffic.

But Lapierre was able to find a way through it to just scrape the fastest lap, with Jose Maria Lopez able to sneak into third behind Pantano and just 0.072 off pole.

Session times to be added soon.

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