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van der Garde loses pole amid post-qualifying penalties

26 May 2011

Giedo van der Garde does not get much luck, it would appear, having lost a certain victory in Barcelona to a sticking wheel nut in race one, and then being taken out of race two after a blinding start. However, losing pole position in Monaco was all his own doing.

An eventful qualifying session saw the stewards hard at work, before hitting three drivers with penalties for poor driving standards.

van der Garde was the highest-placed, and highest profile, of those, having set pole in a tempestuous half-hour. The Dutchman was handed a five-place grid penalty for causing a collision early in the session with Carlin stand-in Oliver Turvey, and will now start Friday's race from sixth.

van der Garde was not alone, however, with practice pacesetter Romain Grosjean and Barcelona podium vistor Marcus Ericsson also being penalised.

Grosjean, who was thrown out of the Barcelona feature for a technical infringement, rode crashed into DAMS team-mate Pal Varhaug at Rascasse in the closing stages of the qualifying session, coming to rest perilously close to the Norwegian's helmet, and was also handed a five-position penalty. The Frenchman, however, was at the opposite end of the grid to van der Garde, having yet to set a lap time inside the 107 per cent requirement, but will be allowed to start from the rear of the grid having set a suitable time during the practice session.

Ericsson also collided with a team-mate, having hit the rear of iSport colleague Sam Bird's car at the Swimming Pool. The Swede will now start from P20, while Bird moves up to fill the pole position vacated by van der Garde, despite a tangle of his own with Racing Engineering's Dani Clos while being shown the blue flag.

Davide Valsecchi will join Bird, who shared the championship lead with van de Garde after Barcelona, on the front row, while Racing Engineering's Alvaro Parente moves up to third.


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