Karun Chandhok set the pace in qualifying for the latest GP2 rounds at Spa, but a penalty imposed on the Indian driver following the Valencia street race means iSport team-mate Bruno Senna will start the opening race of the weekend from pole position.
Senna had led the way during the session with a best time of 2m 15.550s, but a storming lap from Chandhok enabled him to steal 'pole' by just 0.061secs. However, his grid penalty means he will instead start the opening race of the weekend from eleventh place. Alvaro Parente will start from the front row as a result, although he was well off the pace set by the iSport pair during the wet session.
“I'm really pleased with my performance today,” pole man Senna said. “It was a session in which patience paid off. The track was getting drier throughout the session, despite frequent showers, but it was important not to push so hard that you wrecked your tyres on some of the dry patches that were appearing – consistency was imperative.
“The car was very good and I felt very confident in the rain. I don't mind if conditions remain that way tomorrow, but equally I know we'll be competitive in the dry. Really, though, I don't mind what happens because I absolutely adore this circuit and love racing here whatever the weather.”
With heavy rain starting five minutes before the session it was clear that a dramatic session was around the corner, and so it proved.
Senna set the pace immediately with Pastor Maldonado also pushing hard, while Lucas di Grassi slipped over the edge and into the wall on his second flying lap and was consigned to the back of the grid as a result; his quickest time being outside the 107 per cent qualifying marker.
Maldonado soon joined him on the sidelines shortly after sneaking into the top spot when he slipped off a kerb and flew backwards into the wall at turn seven, bringing out the red flags.
Title rivals Giorgio Pantano and Senna were soon fighting once more for pole, with Parente also joining in to make it a three way battle. In the second half of the session a number of drivers ran wide or spun making it was clear that, although the rain had stopped, the conditions were still far from ideal, but with Senna on top as the clock stopped it looked like the action was finished for the afternoon. But Chandhok had other ideas, staying out when the others thought it was all over.
Once his penalty it taken into account, Romain Grosjean and Pantano will line up on row two, ahead of Andreaz Zuber and Sebastien Buemi. Mike Conway, Andy Soucek, Maldonado and Vitaly Petrov round out the top ten.