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Spa: Qualifying times

An imperious Sam Bird blew away the competition for pole in qualifying at Spa with only Fabio Leimer left in touching distance, while championship leader Stefano Coletti slumped to 20th.
The damp gloom of the morning practice on Friday had given way to blue skies and sunshine by the time that the GP2 field set out for the half-hour qualifying in the afternoon, meaning a dry track and faster track-times from the get-go. However that also meant the drivers were starting from scratch in terms of understanding what they could get away with in their approach to attacking the circuit.

Despite the improved conditions the first flying laps headed by Arden's Johnny Cecotto Jr were still over a tenth slower than the morning's top time laid down by championship leader Stefano Coletti. It took another run around the 20-turn, 4.352-mile Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps before the times really started to find the right groove, with Russian Time's Sam Bird going top with a time of 1:56.957s almost three tenths faster than Racing Engineering's Fabio Leimer and ART's James Calado.

With the length of Spa meaning that the tyres could offer up only three really competitive laptimes before going off, the track was completely devoid of cars at the midpoint of the 30 minute session in order that the teams could put a new set of boots on and make a final round of adjustments. At last the peace and quiet of the Ardennes was shattered once more, with the Rapax duo of Coletti and Simon Trummer first to make a move.

Fast laps were initially hard to come by and the situation further complicated by Adrian Quaife-Hobbs sustaining a right front puncture in the Hilmer Motorsport #22 but insisting on slowly recovering the car back to pit lane despite at one point cutting his way from one side of the track to the other across the path of much-faster traffic. Once the barely mobile distraction was out of the way, Leimer succeeded in closing up to within two tenths of pole but ultimately could get no closer than that, while Bird's team mate Tom Dillmann looked on course to snatch last second glory when a lock-up in the Busstop ruined his final effort and left him languishing in an unrepresentative 13th place on the grid.

In the mean time Marcus Ericsson had able to vault up to fourth place in the DAMS putting him on second place on the grid alongside Calado, with Alexander Rossi holding on to fifth in the Caterham despite a strong effort from Hungary sprint racewinner Nathanael Berthon in the Trident.

Rossi's team mate Sergio Canamasas posted the ninth fastest time of the qualifying session but will start from 19th on the grid after serving a ten place grid penalty for causing a collision in Hungary. That will put put him alongside Coletti, who was unable to get a clear lap in that second stint and do finished in 20th position, a far cry from when he had gone three tenths quicker to top the times in the practice session despite the less optimal morning track conditions.

Ricardo Teixeira was thwarted with apparent engine issues and spent much of the session on pit road with the Trident team swarming over the back of the car. There was no quick cure and his only posted lap of 2:17.528s was well outside the 107 percent cut-off leaving him at the mercy of the racing stewards as to whether the circumstances warranted his being allowed to start Saturday's feature race.

Qualifying times

1. #11 Sam Bird Russian Time 1:56.957s 133.959mph (9 laps)
2. #8 Fabio Leimer Racing Engineering 1:57.156s 133.731mph + 0.199s (9 laps)
3. #3 James Calado ART GP 1:57.404s 133.449mph + 0.447s (9 laps)
4. #1 Marcus Ericsson DAMS 1:57.538s 133.297mph + 0.581s (9 laps)
5. #15 Alexander Rossi EQ8 Caterham Racing 1:57.578s 133.252mph + 0.621s (11 laps)
6. #20 Nathanaël Berthon Trident Racing 1:57.588s 133.241mph + 0.631s (10 laps)
7. #10 Jolyon Palmer Carlin 1:57.691s 133.124mph + 0.734s (9 laps)
8. #2 Stéphane Richelmi DAMS 1:57.802s 132.998mph + 0.845s (10 laps)
9. #14 Sergio Canamasas * EQ8 Caterham Racing 1:57.804s 132.996mph + 0.847s (11 laps)
10. #9 Felipe Nasr Carlin 1:57.839s 132.957mph + 0.882s (10 laps)
11. #23 Robin Frijns Hilmer Motorsport 1:57.881s 132.909mph + 0.924s (10 laps)
12. #7 Julián Leal Racing Engineering 1:57.924s 132.861mph + 0.967s (9 laps)
13. #12 Tom Dillmann Russian Time 1:57.950s 132.831mph + 0.993s (10 laps)
14. #6 Mitch Evans Arden 1:58.271s 132.471mph + 1.314s (11 laps)
15. #19 Simon Trummer Rapax 1:58.384s 132.345mph + 1.427s (11 laps)
16. #26 Dani Clos MP Motorsport 1:58.385s 132.343mph + 1.428s (11 laps)
17. #5 Johnny Cecotto Jr. Arden 1:58.419s 132.305mph + 1.462s (10 laps)
18. #17 Rio Haryanto Barwa Addax 1:58.463s 132.256mph + 1.506s (10 laps)
19. #22 Adrian Quaife-Hobbs Hilmer Motorsport 1:58.534s 132.177mph + 1.577s (8 laps)
20. #18 Stefano Coletti Rapax 1:58.618s 132.084mph + 1.661s (10 laps)
21. #27 Daniël de Jong MP Motorsport 1:58.789s 131.893mph + 1.832s (9 laps)
22. #24 Rene Binder Venezuela GP Lazarus 1:58.803s 131.878mph + 1.846s (10 laps)
23. #25 Vittorio Ghirelli Venezuela GP Lazarus 1:58.831s 131.847mph + 1.874s (10 laps)
24. #4 Daniel Abt ART GP 1:59.022s 131.635mph + 2.065s (13 laps)
25. #16 Jake Rosenzweig Barwa Addax 1:59.253s 131.380mph + 2.296s (10 laps)
26. #21 Ricardo Teixeira Trident Racing 2:17.528s 113.922mph + 20.571s (3 laps)

Total Laps: 252

107% time: 2:05:143s
* denotes 10-place grid drop due to penalty for causing a collision in Hungary



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Stefano Coletti (MON, Rapax) during Friday practice at Spa-Francorchamps - Friday, August 23 2013. (World Copyright: Alastair Staley/GP2 Media Service.)
Sam Bird (GBR, Russian Time) in action at Spa-Francorchamps on Friday August 23 2013. (World Copyright: Alastair Staley/GP2 Media Service.)
Sam Bird (GBR, Russian Time) in action at Spa-Francorchamps on Friday August 23 2013. (World Copyright: Alastair Staley/GP2 Media Service.)
Jolyon Palmer (GBR, DAMS) in action at the Autodromo di Monza, Monza, Italy. Sunday 7 September 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Raffaele Marciello (ITA, Racing Engineering) in action at the Autodromo di Monza, Monza, Italy. Sunday 7 September 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Stefano Coletti (MON, Racing Engineering) in action at the Autodromo di Monza, Monza, Italy. Sunday 7 September 2014. (Photo: Zak Mauger/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Stefano Coletti (MON, Racing Engineering) in action at the Autodromo di Monza, Monza, Italy. Sunday 7 September 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Pierre Gasly (FRA, EQ8 Caterham Racing) in pit lane at the Autodromo di Monza, Monza, Italy. Sunday 7 September 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Jolyon Palmer (GBR, DAMS) crosses the line at the end of race 2 at the Autodromo di Monza, Monza, Italy. Sunday 7 September 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Jolyon Palmer (GBR, DAMS) celebrates in parc ferme after race 2 at the Autodromo di Monza, Monza, Italy. Sunday 7 September 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Jolyon Palmer (GBR, DAMS) celebrates with team mate Stephane Richelmi (MON, DAMS) celebrates after race 2 at the Autodromo di Monza, Monza, Italy. Sunday 7 September 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Jolyon Palmer (GBR, DAMS) celebrates with his father Jonathan after race 2 at the Autodromo di Monza, Monza, Italy. Sunday 7 September 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Race winner Jolyon Palmer (GBR, DAMS) & runner-up Stefano Coletti (MON, Racing Engineering) celebrate with champagne after race 2 at the Autodromo di Monza, Monza, Italy. Sunday 7 September 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Jolyon Palmer (GBR, DAMS) sprays champagne on the podium after race 2 at the Autodromo di Monza, Monza, Italy. Sunday 7 September 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Jolyon Palmer (GBR, DAMS), Stefano Coletti (MON, Racing Engineering) & Stephane Richelmi (MON, DAMS) on the podium after race 2 at the Autodromo di Monza, Monza, Italy. Sunday 7 September 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Dean Stoneman (GBR, Marussia Manor Racing) celebrates in Parc Ferme after race 2 at the Autodromo di Monza, Monza, Italy. Sunday 7 September 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Dean Stoneman (GBR, Marussia Manor Racing) heads to the podium after race 2 at the Autodromo di Monza, Monza, Italy. Sunday 7 September 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Dean Stoneman (GBR, Marussia Manor Racing) on the podium after race 2 at the Autodromo di Monza, Monza, Italy. Sunday 7 September 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)

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