Spa GP2: McLaren junior Stoffel Vandoorne resists Oliver Rowland

McLaren Formula 1 protege Stoffel Vandoorne stormed to his eighth GP2 pole at his home race at Spa for ART Grand Prix ahead of Formula Renault 3.5 leader Oliver Rowland

Spa GP2: McLaren junior Stoffel Vandoorne resists Oliver Rowland

Runaway championship leader Vandoorne set the initial pace early on in the session and never looked like missing out on pole position.

The Belgian ran a different strategy in qualifying to the rest of the field.

As others entered the pits for their mid-session tyre changes Vandoorne, who was hampered by traffic in qualifying in Hungary, stayed out on the empty track to set the fastest time, a 1m56.278s.

This alternative strategy meant Vandoorne could sit out the final few minutes of the session, which he did as he waited nervously on the pitwall to see if anyone could beat his time.

They couldn't, but relative GP2 newcomer Rowland came the closest to upsetting the home crowd with a 1m56.425s for MP Motorsport, just 0.147 seconds behind Vandoorne.

Rapax driver Sergey Sirotkin briefly held second on the grid before Rowland pipped his time by less than a tenth of a second.

Jordan King capped off a strong session with fourth on the grid ahead of Honda junior Nobuharu Matsushita, who like Sirotkin briefly held second place in the closing stages.

Mitch Evans edged out Red Bull protege Pierre Gasly for sixth while Alexander Rossi, who tried in vain late on to topple Vandoorne, finished the session eighth.

Williams F1 development driver Alex Lynn and Arden International driver Norman Nato rounded out the top 10.

Ferrari junior Raffaele Marciello and Campos Racing's Rio Haryanto - currently second in the points - both struggled in the early stages of the session and were way down the order.

They both improved following the mid-session tyre change to finish 11th and 12th respectively.

QUALIFYING TIMES:

Pos Driver Team Time Gap
1 Stoffel Vandoorne ART Grand Prix 1m56.278s -
2 Oliver Rowland MP Motorsport 1m56.425s 0.147s
3 Sergey Sirotkin Rapax 1m56.513s 0.235s
4 Jordan King Racing Engineering 1m56.625s 0.347s
5 Nobuharu Matsushita ART Grand Prix 1m56.659s 0.381s
6 Mitch Evans RUSSIAN TIME 1m56.661s 0.383s
7 Pierre Gasly DAMS 1m56.701s 0.423s
8 Alexander Rossi Racing Engineering 1m56.845s 0.567s
9 Alex Lynn DAMS 1m56.985s 0.707s
10 Norman Nato Arden International 1m57.019s 0.741s
11 Rio Haryanto Campos Racing 1m57.143s 0.865s
12 Raffaele Marciello Trident 1m57.218s 0.940s
13 Robert Visoiu Rapax 1m57.273s 0.995s
14 Arthur Pic Campos Racing 1m57.275s 0.997s
15 Nick Yelloly Hilmer Motorsport 1m57.328s 1.050s
16 Julian Leal Carlin 1m57.440s 1.162s
17 Richie Stanaway Status Grand Prix 1m57.528s 1.250s
18 Sergio Canamasas Daiko Team Lazarus 1m57.560s 1.282s
19 Nathanael Berthon Daiko Team Lazarus 1m57.615s 1.337s
20 Andre Negrao Arden International 1m57.661s 1.383s
21 Daniel de Jong MP Motorsport 1m57.746s 1.468s
22 Artem Markelov RUSSIAN TIME 1m57.809s 1.531s
23 Marlon Stockinger Status Grand Prix 1m58.136s 1.858s
24 Gustav Malja Trident 1m58.371s 2.093s
25 Sean Gelael Carlin 1m58.402s 2.124s

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Spa GP2: McLaren F1 protege Stoffel Vandoorne tops practice for ART
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