Crash.Net GP2 News
Haryanto celebrates maiden GP2 pole
1 September 2012
The weather at Spa on Friday might have been bad enough to have the F1 drivers resolutely taking shelter in their garages rather than heading out in the cold and wet conditions for practice, but the GP2 drivers had no such luxury when it came to qualifying.
In the end it was Carlin's Rio Haryanto who put in a stellar performance to claim his first pole position in the GP2 series with a lap of 2:17.535s on the historic 7km circuit.
"I'm very pleased with the result!" an excited Haryanto told the GP2 Media Service after the qualifying session. "It's been a long time coming, and I think everything was working very well, I was in the right place at the right time, I had to push for a good lap, but I am very pleased with the result, and I am looking forward to tomorrow's race!"
Haryanto added that he hoped the weather would continue to be wet on Saturday for the feature race itself as the conditions clearly suited him, but the forecast was for dry weather over the weekend albeit with cloud and fog preventing the sun from heating up the track.
Haryanto's pole time was just 0.108s ahead of James Calado, who had a similar margin over his Lotus GP team mate Esteban Gutiérrez who will start from third place on the grid alongside iSport's Marcus Ericsson.
"We knew right from the start of free practice this morning that both mine and Esteban's cars were capable of being at the front," said Calado, who like Haryanto is a GP2 rookie this season but who has already won two races in 2012 and been pipped for two more by circumstances.
"It took me a while to get into a rhythm, because I made a few mistakes," he told the GP2 Media Service. " I came in, put some new tyres on, and it all seemed to click. I managed to do 2 laps which were quite similar speed, both with tiny little mistakes which maybe could have put me in front of Rio.
"But he did a better job today and is a tenth in front, so congratulations to him on his first pole position," Calado added.
Gutiérrez was also happy with the way the team's performance had gone under the exacting conditions at Spa.
"It's very special at this track, and to drive it in these conditions is something that I really like," said the Mexican. "I was okay with it, was trying to enjoy it as much as I could in free practice and in qualifying too.
"We thought were could be very quick, and luckily we managed to put it together and could be quite consistent, so it was a good session for us," he added. "Of course you can always get more, it's never perfect, and hopefully before the end of the season we can put a perfect lap together and get pole, but third is a great result."
One driver conspicuously less happy with the state of affairs on Friday was championship leader Luiz Razia, who had a disastrous session and ended up in 18th place on the grid.
"This hasn't been the best of days, clearly," the Arden driver said after qualifying. "This morning the car felt really good in free practice, with a nice balance, and I was confident that would carry over into qualifying.
"The track was a little bit drier in the afternoon, so we lowered the ride height slightly, but it wasn't a big change and suddenly the car had massive understeer," he explained. "We made a few alterations before the second run, but that made it oversteer! We simply didn't find a balance.
"We'll look at the data and find a solution. On a positive note, overtaking is definitely possible at Spa so a points finish is feasible. That's my target."
Razia's immediate aim will be to try and catch up with his main rival for the title with three race weekends to go. Davide Valsecchi put himself into six place on the grid and stands a good chance of overhauling Razia for the points lead in today's feature race, which starts at 2.40pm BST after F1 qualifying and will be shown live in the UK on Sky Sports F1.
Full qualifying times available