Valsecchi seals first GP2 pole of 2012
23 March 2012 – Italy’s Davide Valsecchi has picked up the first GP2 pole position of the 2012 season, having set the quickest qualifying time at Sepang after second F1 practice. The Italian, driving with the DAMS team which took Romain Grosjean to the title last year, will share the front row with Brazil’s Luiz Razia, with leading Briton Max Chilton in third place.
Having finished second in the sole practice session, Valsecchi proceeded to post a lap time of 1:45.494, taking pole by just six thousandths of a second as the top 19 drivers were covered by one second. Esteban Gutiérrez of Mexico, Sauber Formula 1 reserve driver and many insiders’ favourite for the 2012 GP2 crown, was the early pace-setter but his day was compromised after being hit by Johnny Cecotto Jr. in practice.
It was a good day for English representatives, with Chilton’s third place being backed up by sixth and seventh slots for impressive newcomer James Calado and Jolyon Palmer, son of ex Grand Prix driver Jonathan and who had topped the practice period. In the second DAMS car, reigning British Formula 3 Champion Felipe Nasr will start tenth.
In previous years, the GP2 campaign has begun with the F1 European season. From 2012, the GP2 Asia and Main Series have merged to ensure one longer championship.
GP2’s Saturday Feature Race begins at 11am local time (BST +8)