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Grosjean claims Monaco pole.

It may have been known for some time, but the transformation from Campos to Addax only officially took effect in the build-up to this weekend's Monaco round of the GP2 Series - and Romain Grosjean and Vitaly Petrov celebrated by annexing the front row for Friday's feature race in the Principality.

Barcelona feature winner Grosjean dominated the afternoon qualifying session with a stunning display of speed and precision as he smashed the previous track record for the series and claim pole position for the first of the weekend's two races.

The Frenchman set an early fastest lap and then improved it again on the ten-minute mark. Then, just to rub salt into his rivals' wounds, he went even quicker with two minutes remaining to set a best time of 1min 19.498secs. Even Petrov was blown away, getting to within half a second of his team-mate just as Grosjean moved the goalposts again.

Monaco expert Pastor Maldonado and Andreas Zuber were scrapping for top spot early in the session, before Grosjean stormed into the fray with an untouchable lead effort. Initially, it looked as though the Frenchman's time has stunned the pit-lane into silence, but eventually his rivals came back and chipped away at his time, first
Luca Filippi, then Zuber and Jérôme d'Ambrosio until, with a few minutes remaining, the floodgates opened.

Petrov, Nico Hülkenberg, Lucas di Grassi and Zuber all improved their times in the final two minutes, only for Grosjean went even quicker and keep touring around on the final lap in case he needed to subdue the rank and file once and for all. After setting another fastest first sector, the inaugural GP2 Asia champion slowed down, knowing the job was done.

Behind the two Addax cars, Hulkenberg got the better of the more experienced Zuber, while di Grassi, Alvaro Parente, d'Ambrosio and Filippi all lamented traffic as they attempted to improve.

"The car is working fine, the team is doing a good job and I was in P2 during most of the qualifying, but then there was just too much traffic to improve my lap time and I went from P2 to P5," di Grassi confirmed.

Alberto Valerio sprang a minor surprise by pushing his Piquet GP entry into ninth - transcending his own reputation rather than the team's - while Karun Chandhok put the second of the Ocean Racing Technology entries at the foot of the top ten.

Just missing out, Javi Villa, Sergio Perez and Racing Engineering rookie Dani Clos all ended the session ahead of Maldonado, who will be hard-pressed to maintain his impressive Monaco record from 14th, but nevertheless fared better than reigning Asia Series king, Kamui Kobayashi, whose nightmare start to the year continued in 17th spot.

The DAMS driver was still better off than rookie Ricardo Teixeira, however, the Angolan failing to make the 107 per cent time and facing an anxious wait to see if he is to be granted the dispensation to race after lapping some six seconds off the pace.


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Romain Grosjean - Barwa Addax   [pic credit: GP2]
2015 GP3 Series Round 9 Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE. Friday 27 November 2015. Esteban Ocon (FRA, ART Grand Prix) Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service.
2015 GP3 Series Round 7. Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia.. Saturday 10 October 2015. Top three qualifiers, Matheo Tuscher (SUI, Jenzer Motorsport), Esteban Ocon (FRA, ART Grand Prix), Kevin Ceccon (ITA, Arden International). Photo: Zak Mauger/GP3 Series Media Service.
Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Saturday 22 August 2015. Qualifying Press Conference. Esteban Ocon (FRA, ART Grand Prix), Luca Ghiotto (ITA, Trident) and Marvin Kirchhofer (GER, ART Grand Prix). Photo: Zak Mauger/GP3 Series Media Service.
2015 GP2 Series Round 3 - Monte Carlo, Monaco. Thursday 21 May 2015. Alexander Rossi (USA, Racing Engineering) Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.
2015 GP2 Series Round 3 - Monte Carlo, Monaco. Thursday 21 May 2015. Alexander Rossi (USA, Racing Engineering) Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.
2015 GP2 Series Round 3 - Monte Carlo, Monaco. Thursday 21 May 2015. Alexander Rossi (USA, Racing Engineering) Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.
2015 GP2 Series Round 3 - Monte Carlo, Monaco. Thursday 21 May 2015. Alexander Rossi (USA, Racing Engineering) Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.
2015 GP2 Series Round 3 - Monte Carlo, Monaco. Thursday 21 May 2015. Alexander Rossi (USA, Racing Engineering) Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.
2015 GP2 Series Round 3 - Monte Carlo, Monaco. Thursday 21 May 2015. Alexander Rossi (USA, Racing Engineering) Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.
2015 GP2 Series Round 3 - Monte Carlo, Monaco. Thursday 21 May 2015. Alexander Rossi (USA, Racing Engineering) Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.
2015 GP2 Series Round 3 - Monte Carlo, Monaco. Thursday 21 May 2015. Alexander Rossi (USA, Racing Engineering) Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.
2015 GP2 Series Round 2. Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain. Friday 8 May 2015. GP2 Top Three Qualifiers. Alex Lynn (GBR, DAMS), Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL, ART Grand Prix) and Pierre Gasly (FRA, DAMS). Photo: Zak Mauger/GP2 Series Media Service.
2015 GP2 Series Round 1 - Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain. Friday 17 April 2015. Nobuharu Matsushita (JPN, ART Grand Prix) and Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL, ART Grand Prix) after qualifying. Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.
Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL, ART Grand Prix), Jolyon Palmer (GBR, DAMS) & Stephane Richelmi (MON, DAMS) after qualifying at Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Friday 21 November 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Arthur Pic (FRA, Campos Racing) after qualifying at Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia. Friday 10 October 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL, ART Grand Prix), Arthur Pic (FRA, Campos Racing) & Takuya Izawa (JPN, ART Grand Prix) after qualifying at Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia. Friday 10 October 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL, ART Grand Prix) after qualifying at Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia. Friday 10 October 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)

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