Championship leader Stoffel Vandoorne continued his sensational start to the 2015 GP2 Series season by claiming a record-breaking pole position in Austria on Friday.
Vandoorne managed to edge out ART Grand Prix teammate Nobuharu Matsushita by 0.089 seconds at the end of the qualifying session with a fine final lap that left the rest of the field reeling.
The result marked the Belgian driver’s seventh pole position in GP2, which now stands as a new all-time record in the series.
Seven poles is impressive enough, but it is made all the more stunning by the fact that they have come in the last eight races. Vandoorne’s first GP2 pole was in Belgium last year, and he has started on pole at every race since then with the exception of Monaco last month.
“Today was another good day for us,” Vandoorne said. “It’s good to be back on pole position after missing it out in Monaco. Practice was quite good this morning. I felt I had a good pace. I had a bit of bad luck with traffic and we tried different setups as well.
“We knew the direction to take in qualifying this afternoon. Everything played out pretty well. On the first run, it was about learning about the super-soft tres. It’s the first time we have them here. It was a bit new for everybody.
“We could do more push laps than expected. For the second run, we tried to put everything in place and it was good enough for another pole position”
Vandoorne will now be looking to extend his sizeable championship lead in the feature race on Saturday, but will have to remain wary of Matsushita just behind. Red Bull junior driver Pierre Gasly qualified third ahead of Rapax’s Sergey Sirotkin, whilst Rio Haryanto rounded out the top five.
American driver Alexander Rossi struggled to find any pace due to a brake problem, leaving him 12th on the grid for tomorrow’s race.
“I’m so excited to join Andretti United Extreme E,” Munnings said in a release. ““I was really intrigued when I first heard about Extreme E, I just knew I had to be involved. The male / female racing partnership is a fantastic and exciting new concept. The season has incredible locations and the racing will be very exciting. It will be a new challenge for the teams and drivers, and I’m so thrilled to be working with such a strong team.
“The championship is a really innovative concept, it’s combining motorsport and science and will produce an important legacy in each race location. Bringing the platform that motorsport has in line with the awareness that the planet needs right now is awesome and a really important message.”
Said Hansen: “Going into the Extreme E will be a new chapter in my career, one that I am extremely excited about. It is something brand new, not only for me, but the whole of motorsport. The format is something
we’ve never seen before. I’m also delighted to be able to carry the message of something bigger – talking about the environment and doing something good for the world – that’s something that really drives me. It’s going to be a big adventure in life to see these locations and I’m going to do my best in carrying this responsibility and hopefully making people aware of the challenges we have in the world, together with our passion for racing.”