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Cecotto and Chilton on Monaco front row

Trident's Julian Leal was at the head of pit road when the lights went green, and soon laid down a reasonable first flying lap of 1:25.218s. But it was Rodolfo Gonzalez - whose Caterham team mate van der Garde had come so close to topping the first qualifying group - who was quickly making the running with a lap of 1:22.873s as Leimer, Razia and Scuderia Coloni's Fabio Onidi also put in fast laps to hustle Leal out of the way.

Gonzalez' next attempt to push times down was thwarted when he came up on the back of a slow Valsecchi, which allowed Leimer to go top instead with a new best lap of 1:22.053s and Cecotto slotting into second a little under two tenths behind.

But all the drivers had someway to go if they were going to challenge the earlier group for pole, and it was Marcus Ericsson who led the charge under the 82s mark with a lap of 1:21.863s and then bettered it to drive the time down to 1:21.249s - which meant that whoever ended this group fastest would now start from pole position with Group A's Max Chilton having to settle for second place.

Valsecchi was trying his best to take the top spot, getting very leery out of Rascasse on his flying lap but just managing to hold it off the barrier and going in the right direction to steel a narrow second place from Johnny Cecotto, but still a long way back from Ericsson's seemingly impregnable provisional pole effort.

And then with just three minutes to go in the session, with not a single incident or collision up to this point, there was a red flag: Rodolfo Gonzalez had pushed his luck beyond the reach of his talent and lost the Caterham coming through the chicane heading into the Swimming Pool. He hit the Armco with the rear of the car which then spun to clout the barrier a second time with the front, before coming to rest right in the middle of the track and leave the track workers no option but to call a break in proceedings to effect a recovery.

Once that was done, there was one last chance for drivers to come out and improve their times. Did anyone have anything to topple Ericsson? Certainly not Valsecchi, who had a bit of a moment through Ste. Devote and was lucky not to plant the DAMS into the barrier. Luiz Razia had enough juice in him to nip into third place ahead of Valsecchi as a result, but surely that was it for the day?

Johnny Cecotto Jr. had other ideas. Pushing for everything he was worth, he managed to hook up a last gasp lap of 1:21.195s to edge Ericsson by just 0.054s to steal his first-ever GP2 Series pole position even as the chequered flag flew. It seemed that after Barwa Addax had endured a bit of a damp squib for the first few races of the season, the 2011 championship-winning team was starting to reconnect with its undoubted form.

Perhaps an even bigger success had been the new-look qualifying format. While only introduced for this one session, more than a few people in pit road looked as though they were having a light bulb moment as they watched the highly entertaining session. It wouldn't be surprising if the idea of doing this format more often wasn't being discussed in GP2 circles for the next few days.

Full Group A and Group B qualifying times and feature race starting grid line-up available.




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Johnny Cecotto (VEN, Barwa Addax Team) in Monaco. [Photo Credit: Alastair Staley/GP2 Media Service.] Ref: Digital Image AS5D2039.jpg
Johnny Cecotto (VEN, Barwa Addax Team) on track in Monaco. [Photo Credit: Alastair Staley/GP2 Media Service.]
Johnny Cecotto (VEN, Barwa Addax Team) on track on Monaco. [Photo Credit: Alastair Staley/GP2 Media Service.]
Johnny Cecotto (VEN, Barwa Addax Team) celebrates in Monaco. [Photo Credit: Alastair Staley/GP2 Media Service.]
Jolyon Palmer (GBR, DAMS) celebrates at Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia. Saturday 11 October 2014. (Photo: Alastair Staley/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Jolyon Palmer (GBR, DAMS) celebrates at Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia. Saturday 11 October 2014. (Photo: Alastair Staley/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Jolyon Palmer (GBR, DAMS) celebrates at Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia. Saturday 11 October 2014. (Photo: Alastair Staley/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Jolyon Palmer (GBR, DAMS), Mitch Evans (NZL, RT RUSSIAN TIME) & Raffaele Marciello (ITA, Racing Engineering) on the feature race podium at Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia. Saturday 11 October 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Jolyon Palmer (GBR, DAMS) in action at Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia. Saturday 11 October 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Jolyon Palmer (GBR, DAMS) celebrates win with his father Jonathan at Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia. Saturday 11 October 2014.(Photo: Steven Tee/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Jolyon Palmer (GBR, DAMS) celebrates victory at Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia. Saturday 11 October 2014. (Photo: Steven Tee/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Newly-crowned 2014 GP2 Series Champion Jolyon Palmer (GBR, DAMS) celebrates in Parc Ferme at Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia. Saturday 11 October 2014. (Photo: Steven Tee/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.)
Arthur Pic (FRA, Campos Racing) & Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL, 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.)
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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JJJ - Unregistered

May 24, 2012 6:35 PM

A shame for Giedo that Chilton just pipped him there after he missed out on pole because of a penalty last year already. Still, with the grid as it is he might well get a podium if he isn't punted off in the first corner again (Bianchi now doing WSBR could be an advantage in that respect). Unfortunately I won't be able to watch the GP2 race this weekend but I'll be tracking the results. I was sceptical at first this being his 4th GP2 season, but after that win in Spain, maybe we'll finally have a Dutchman in F1 again next year.



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