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GP2 Spa: Vandoorne steals pole from Palmer

Just when Jolyon Palmer was feeling confident of pole position at Spa, Stoffel Vandoorne was able to pip him for the top spot by 0.018s.
CLICK: Full GP2 qualifying results from Spa-Francorchamps

Stoffel Vandoorne will start Saturday's feature race from pole position, after a late run allowed the ART driver to steal the top spot from championship leader Jolyon Palmer who had already called it a day back in pit lane.

Vandoorne's time of 1:56.839s on the 4.352 mile, 20-turn Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium was a slender 0.018s ahead of Palmer's best time, which had been set early in the half hour qualifying session. Two tenths of a second back from the DAMS was Mitch Evans, who pulled off a late flier in the Russian Time #1 to claim third place on the grid ahead of Racing Engineering's Raffaele Marciello.

The first flying lap of the afternoon had been recorded by Trident's Johnny Cecotto Jr. but he had been almost immediately toppled by first Vandoorne and then by Palmer. Although he was able to shave a few tenths off his initial effort, Cecotto would eventually finish in fifth place on the timesheets just ahead of Carlin's Julian Leal who had earlier been fastest in practice.

Leal's first flying lap of the afternoon session had looked set for provisional pole position, only for the Colombian to be forced to lift in the final sector because of yellow flags triggered by Vandoorne's team mate Takuya Izawa who had spun out and stalled his ART. Izawa did not set a time within 107 per cent of the pole time and will need to gain special dispensation from the race stewards to make the start of Saturday's race.

Venezuela GP Lazarus' Nathanael Berthon backed up a strong display in practice with another impressive run in qualifying to net seventh place, just ahead of Simon Trummer (Rapax) and Marcus Sorensen (MP Motorsport) who like Berthon had similarly managed big gains in time and position in the final ten minutes to put them ahead of DAMS' Stephane Richelmi.

In the championship battle, Carlin's Felipe Nasr had a disappointing session with a somewhat mediocre final effort unable to put him into the top ten on the grid. He will start the feature race from 11th position, well behind his chief title rival Palmer who will be on the front row alongside pole winner Vandoorne.

The 25-lap race will get underway on Saturday afternoon at 3.40pm (2.40pm BST), while the 18-lap sprint race will be on Sunday morning at 10.35am (9.35am BST). All sessions will be shown live in the UK on Sky Sports F1.

Before that, the GP3 field will be at work with free practice at 5.50pm local time (4.50pm BST) on Friday evening and qualifying on Saturday morning at 9.45am local time (8.45pm BST).

See full GP2 qualifying results from Spa-Francorchamps



Related Pictures

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Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL, ART Grand Prix) at Spa Francorchamps on Friday 22 August 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL, ART Grand Prix) at Spa Francorchamps on Friday 22 August 2014. (Photo: Jed Leicester/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL, ART Grand Prix) at Spa Francorchamps on Friday 22 August 2014. (Photo: Jed Leicester/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL, ART Grand Prix) celebrates winning pole after Friday qualifying at Spa Francorchamps on August 22 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL, ART Grand Prix) celebrates winning pole after qualifying at Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Friday 22 August 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Raffaele Marciello (ITA, Racing Engineering) at Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia. Friday 10 October 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Marco Sorensen (DK, MP Motorsport) in action at Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia. Friday 10 October 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Marco Sorensen (DK, MP Motorsport) celebrates in parc ferme after the Sunday sprint race at Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia. Sunday 12 October 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Marco Sorensen (DK, MP Motorsport) celebrates on the podium after the Sunday sprint race at Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia. Sunday 12 October 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Marco Sorensen (DK, MP Motorsport), Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL, ART Grand Prix) & Felipe Nasr (BRA, Carlin) celebrate on the podium after the Sunday sprint race at Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia. Sunday 12 October 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Patric Niederhauser (SUI, Arden International) in Parc Ferme after race 2 at Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia. (Photo: Glenn Dunbar/GP3 Series Media Service.)
Patric Niederhauser (SUI, Arden International) celebrates in Parc Ferme after race 2 at Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service.)
Patric Niederhauser (SUI, Arden International) celebrates with champagne on the podium after race 2 at Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia. Photo: Alastair Staley/GP3 Series Media Service.)
Patric Niederhauser (SUI, Arden International), Dean Stoneman (GBR, Koiranen GP) and Marvin Kirchhofer (GER, ART Grand Prix) on the podium after race 2 at Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia. (Photo: Glenn Dunbar/GP3 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) 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.)

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