Wickens takes pole-position for second Imola race
20 September 2009 – Robert Wickens clinched his first pole since the opening weekend in Valencia, setting a time of 1:37.401 seconds in the dying minutes of the session.
Red Bull locked out the front row, with Mirko Bortolotti - who also clinched second spot for yesterday's race - lining up alongside Wickens. Andy Soucek, who was crowned champion yesterday, maintained his good form and will start from third.
Alex Brundle and Kazim Vasiliauskas made the early running as they quickly matched yesterday's pole time of 1:38.4s. It was clear this was going to be a much quicker session as times continued to tumble in the early stages, and it was Milos Pavlovic who then enjoyed a brief spell at the top - the Serbian driver having opted for new tyres from the beginning of the session.
In what has become customary during F2 qualifying sessions - the majority of drivers came in to change tyres midway through the 30-minute duel, and it was Philipp Eng who stormed to P1 shortly after. The Austrian was on a charge and he instantly bettered his previous lap, but with the circuit conditions getting better and better he seemed to have used the best of his tyres too early.
A flurry of changes were brought about in the final minutes as Soucek, Bortolotti and Wickens all enjoyed a spell at the top of the timesheets, but it was Wickens who made it count as he pipped Bortolotti by just 0.115s.
Soucek was close behind in third but the lead trio enjoyed a gap of more than four tenths of a second over fourth placed Pavlovic. Kazim Vasiliaukas endured a strange session as yesterdays race one winner was stranded way down the field in the early running. The Lithuanian responded well to fire in a late lap which was good enough for fifth.
After an early throttle problem, Mikhail Aleshin did well to move into the top six during the closing stages as the Russian completed far less laps than his rivals. Eng will have been disappointed to drop to seventh at the finish, whilst Tobias Hegewald clinched eighth.
Brundle maintained his lively form throughout and took a well deserved ninth ahead of Edoardo Piscopo at his home circuit. Carlos Iaconelli was next up as he held off a charging Jack Clarke. Julien Jousse was a lowly 13th and the Frenchman also endured a late high speed spin at Minerali.
Jousse was not the only spinner as Tom Gladdis recovered twice from wild moments, as did Jens Hoing. Natacha Gachnang's session ended in the gravel in the first few moments at Minerali - the Swiss female racer will start last in the second race later today.
Nicola De Marco set the pace during Friday practice, but the Italian endured a miserable morning - he set the 17th fastest time, but has also been given a five place grid penalty after the stewards adjudged his to be the instigator of the first lap multi-car shunt during yesterday's race.