Bird secures first pole of season at Spa
23 August 2013 – Russian Time's Sam Bird secured his first pole position of the GP2 season during qualifying for Saturday's Feature Race at Spa-Francorchamps, with an early effort of 1:56.957 enough to see him edge out Fabio Leimer and James Calado.
Bird, who sits fourth in the championship, set his benchmark time as the field posted their initial sighters in the early stages, remaining at the head of the standings throughout.
A prolonged pause to on-track action in the middle of the session was extended by the crawling Hilmer Motorsport machine of Adrian Quaife-Hobbs, who trawled nearly the entire length of the track with a loose front-right tyre. With a number of laps effectively curtailed by the Briton’s mobile chicane, the session came alive with five minutes remaining as the majority of the field took to the circuit for their final runs.
Leimer came closest to deposing Bird, but after looking set to go fastest he failed to match the 26-year-old’s final sector pace, eventually clocking a time of 1:57.156. Calado took third position, a further four tenths of a second back, while DAMS driver Marcus Ericsson starts from fourth having posted a 1:57.538.
Caterham reserve Alexander Rossi was next up in fifth, with Nathanaël Berthon and Jolyon Palmer – both winners in Budapest – line astern in sixth and seventh. Stéphane Richelmi, Sergio Canamasas and Felipe Nasr closed out the top ten.
The returning Robin Frijns managed a 1:57.881 for 11th, while points leader Stefano Coletti’s poor form continued as he clocked a 1:58.618 en route to 20th on the grid.
Saturday's Feature Race will get underway at 15:40 local time (GMT +2)