GP2: Vandoorne claims fourth straight pole position in Abu Dhabi

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ABU DHABI – McLaren junior driver Stoffel Vandoorne will start the final race of the 2014 GP2 Series season on pole position after edging out championship winner Jolyon Palmer in Abu Dhabi on Friday evening.

For the first time in GP2 history, a driver has secured four consecutive pole positions, with Vandoorne continuing his strong finish to the 2014 season at Yas Marina. His lap of 1:48.088 was good enough to secure him top spot on the timesheets, and allowed the ART driver to pit on his final flyer as the result was already secure.

Off the back of his title win in Russia, Palmer could only finish second, falling 0.099 seconds short of Vandoorne’s time. He will start ahead of DAMS teammate Stephane Richelmi and Russian Time’s Mitch Evans, who qualified in third and fourth place respectively.

Carlin’s Felipe Nasr ran well to qualify fifth in Abu Dhabi, but after losing out on the championship to Palmer in Russia, he now looks resigned to third place in the standings with Vandoorne just four points behind heading into tomorrow’s race.

Red Bull junior driver and Toro Rosso candidate Pierre Gasly enjoyed a strong result on Friday, qualifying sixth in Caterham Racing’s final race before its rebrand as Status Grand Prix for 2015. Arthur Pic starts seventh ahead of Raffaele Marciello and Stefano Coletti, with Rio Haryanto rounding out the top ten.

American driver Conor Daly returns for this weekend’s round in Abu Dhabi for Venezuela GP Lazarus, and will start from P20, having finished just three-tenths of a second shy of a top ten grid slot.

Indy 500 qualifying: Today’s schedule, TV times, how the 33-car field is set

Indy 500 qualifying schedule
Doug Mathews/IndyCar
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The 33-car field of the 104th Indianapolis 500 will be set through the two-day Indy 500 qualifying schedule Saturday and Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Today’s session will determine the nine cars that will compete for the pole position and starting positions 10-30.

On Sunday, the pole position then will be determined in a Fast Nine Shootout (the top nine qualifiers also received NTT IndyCar Series points).

All on-track activity will be on NBC Sports Gold’s IndyCar pass (click here for streaming Saturday and here for Sunday), and Indy 500 qualifying will be on NBC from 3-5 p.m. ET Saturday and Indy 500 pole qualifying from 1-3 p.m. ET on NBC.

Last year, Simon Pagenaud captured the pole position on the way to winning last year’s Indy 500.

Qualifying speeds at Indianapolis Motor Speedway are determined by a four-lap average around the 2.5-mile track.

Here is the Indy 500 qualifying schedule and how to watch on TV:

Saturday, Aug. 15

5:30 a.m. – Garage opens

6 a.m. – Tech inspection

8:30-9:30 a.m. – Indianapolis 500 practice (NBC Sports Gold)

11 a.m.-5 p.m. – Indianapolis 500 qualifying (NBC Sports Gold; NBC coverage from 3-5 p.m.; NBCSN 5-6 p.m.)

7:30 p.m. – Garage closes

Sunday, Aug. 16

8 a.m. – Garage opens

9 a.m. — Tech inspection

11-11:30 a.m. – Indianapolis 500 practice (NBC Sports Gold)

1:15-2:15 p.m. – Fast Nine pole qualifying (NBC begins at 1 p.m., NBC Sports Gold)

3:30-6 p.m. – Indianapolis 500 practice (NBCSN, NBC Sports Gold)