Rosberg Responds with Pole

Nico Rosberg has set the fastest time in second qualifying to take pole for this afternoon's first race at the Bahrain International Circuit. He will be joined by Championship rival Heikki Kovalainen on the front row

Rosberg Responds with Pole

With almost all of the drivers improving their laptimes in the second session, Rosberg claimed the top spot with a lap of 1:44.643, just 0.675 ahead of Kovalainen, who lines up ahead of teammate Nicolas Lapierre and Giorgio Pantano.

There was heartbreak for Neel Jani, however: he came to Bahrain with a new car as a result of his huge crash in race two at Spa, but the Swiss driver was unable to get out on track in the second session and may have to sit out the races after failing to set a lap time.

Nelson Piquet Jr was the first man on track and immediately made up for his lack of running in the first session by putting in the fifth fastest time just before Ernesto Viso staking his claim by running fastest overall.

The session then became a battle between Arden and ART - Lapierre took provisional pole, with Kovalainen failing to get ahead after losing time to a weaving Can Artam at the back of the circuit.

With ten minutes to go Rosberg annexed pole with a lap time that was never bettered, setting up a title challenge that everyone was relishing before the start of the session - both rivals will lead the remainder of the grid away when the lights go out this afternoon in race one.

Pos Driver Team Q1 Q2 Gap Laps 1. Rosberg ART Grand Prix 1:46.526 1:44.643 20 2. Kovalainen Arden 1:46.205 1:45.318 + 0.675 18 3. Lapierre Arden 1:47.308 1:45.532 + 0.889 21 4. Pantano Super Nova 1:47.621 1:45.541 + 0.898 23 5. Premat ART Grand Prix 1:47.900 1:45.581 + 0.938 19 6. Viso BCN Competicion 1:47.572 1:45.713 + 1.070 21 7. Piquet Jr. Hitech Piquet 1:45.734 + 1.091 17 8. Speed iSport 1:46.685 1:45.790 + 1.147 27 9. Monfardini Coloni Motorsport 1:48.022 1:45.958 + 1.315 23 10. Bruni Durango 1:46.919 1:45.967 + 1.324 20 11. Carroll Super Nova 1:47.149 1:46.029 + 1.386 23 12. Lopez DAMS 1:47.754 1:46.031 + 1.388 23 13. Garcia Racing Engineering 1:47.930 1:46.254 + 1.611 20 14. Piccione Durango 1:47.731 1:46.466 + 1.823 22 15. Alvarez Campos Racing 1:47.858 1:46.634 + 1.991 23 16. Yoshimoto BCN Competicion 1:48.417 1:46.847 + 2.204 18 17. Pla DPR 1:48.916 1:47.072 + 2.429 19 18. Mondini DPR 1:48.333 1:47.101 + 2.458 21 19. Hernandez Campos Racing 1:48.339 1:47.125 + 2.482 18 20. Fauzy DAMS 1:48.868 1:47.259 + 2.616 23 21. Lauda Coloni Motorsport 1:48.732 1:47.555 + 2.912 24 22. Artam iSport 1:48.794 1:47.885 + 3.242 16 23. Negrao Hitech Piquet 1:49.044 + 4.401 9 
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Kovalainen Tops First Qualifying
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