Bird flies to Budapest pole

Briton on top in dramatic qualifying session

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30 July 2010 - 17:49
Bird flies to Budapest pole

Sam Bird has claimed his first GP2 pole in a frantic qualifying session this afternoon at the Hungaroring, taking the top spot with just moments remaining ahead of iSport teammates Davide Valsecchi and Oliver Turvey, with the top three drivers split by just one tenth.

Bird’s best lap time of 1:27.864 came right at the end of the session to push his countryman off pole, with Turvey’s teammate twisting the knife by also squeezing past as the chequered flag dropped on one of this year’s most dramatic sessions.

The entire grid came out on track immediately to make best use of the warm conditions, with Charles Pic and Christian Vietoris setting the initial pace before Valsecchi laid down a marker on his second flying lap: with so many of his rivals close on pace the usual Hungaroring traffic meant that everyone was tripping over everyone else as they pushed for pole.

Sergio Perez tried to take advantage by staying out one lap longer than most of his rivals and looked to have done the job, but he ran deep at turn 12 and undid all of his good work. Likewise Pastor Maldonado came out ahead of the field to pick up an advantage, but was unable to capitalise when his rivals re-emerged on his first flying lap.

The Series leader was clearly desperate to show the pace that he had, but he pushed just too hard a few minutes later when he tried to overtake Pic in the third sector: the pair touched wheels and neither man was able to improve on their laptimes, while at the other side of the track Turvey found a clear path through to the quickest lap of the session.

Jerome d’Ambrosio was another man to push slightly too hard, losing the car and stopping just before the final turn with 3 minutes remaining: it looked as though the session was done until Bird popped up with his quick lap, followed by Valsecchi, to set the front row for tomorrow’s feature race.

Maldonado had to make do with P4 after his dramatic session, ahead of Vietoris, Alberto Valerio, Perez, Giacomo Ricci, Michael Herck and Giedo van der Garde, but with the top twenty drivers split by just one second, tomorrow is shaping up to be one of the best races of the season.

Pos. Driver Team Time Laps
01. Sam Bird ART Grand Prix 1.27.864
02. Davide Valsecchi iSport +0.043s
03. Oliver Turvey iSport +0.112s
04. Pastor Maldonado Rapax +0.270s
05. Christian Vietoris Racing Engineering +0.361s
06. Alberto Valerio Coloni +0.381s
07. Sergio Perez Barwa Addax +0.409s
08. Giacomo Ricci DPR +0.413s
09. Michael Herck DPR +0.473s
10. Giedo Van der Garde Barwa Addax +0.493s
11. Jules Bianchi ART Grand Prix +0.511s
12. Jérôme D’Ambrosio DAMS +0.514s
13. Dani Clos Racing Engineering +0.619s
14. Charles Pic Arden International +0.672s
15. Marcus Ericsson Super Nova +0.749s
16. Ho-Pin Tung DAMS +0.758s
17. Luiz Razia Rapax +0.846s
18. Fabio Leimer Ocean Racing +0.854s
19. Adrian Zaugg Trident +0.863s
20. Luca Filippi Super Nova +1.060s
21. Johnny Cecotto Trident +1.104s
22. Vladimir Arabadzhiev Coloni +1.277s
23. Max Chilton Ocean Racing +1.355s
24. Rodolfo Gonzalez Arden International +2.265s

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