Pierre Gasly will start tomorrow’s GP2 feature race in Bahrain from pole position after topping the timesheets in qualifying for DAMS.
GP2 returns to Bahrain in support of the FIA World Endurance Championship this weekend to make up for the cancelled round in Germany earlier this year.
Gasly managed to edge out 2015 GP2 champion Stoffel Vandoorne by just 0.040 seconds in a closely-fought battle, producing a lap with three minutes to go that gave him his second pole of the year.
“I am very happy with the result,” Gasly said. “In the last three qualifying sessions, we have managed to take two pole positions. It shows a good evolution compared to the beginning of the season.
“I’m really happy about this results today, especially for the team, but also for me because it was a tough season: the first part was not what we expected and we worked all through the rest of the season and now we’re starting to get the reward.
“I will say that I’m really happy about this pole today. I’m already focused on tomorrow because we know that on this track the tyre degradation is really high and that’s going to be a big challenge. But at the moment, we try to enjoy the result.”
Ferrari junior Raffaele Marciello had led the way with a couple of minutes remaining, but was overhauled by both Gasly and Vandoorne late on to leave him third on the grid, 0.076 seconds down on the pole lap.
In the second DAMS car, Alex Lynn qualified fourth ahead of Manor F1 development driver Jordan King and French GP2 rookie Norman Nato. Mitch Evans and Nobuharu Matsushita followed in P7 and P8 respectively.
American driver Alexander Rossi was unable to continue his impressive recent form in GP2, qualifying ninth after failing to make good use of his alternative strategy that gave him a clear track for his hot lap.