Evans qualifies on front row at Monaco

Arden International team mate Johnny Cecotto Jr will start round four of the GP2 Series from pole after topping his qualifying session for odd-numbered cars. Evans set fastest time the second group.

The sessions were split in two, for odd and even-numbered cars, to avoid crashes that have occurred in recent years with all 26 cars on track together. The change meant drivers only had 15 minutes to set their times, and had just one run on the Pirelli super-soft tyres.

In Group A Cecotto,last year's feature race winner, worked his way down to 1m21.141s, which was 0.368 seconds clear of second-quickest driver, and free practice pacesetter, Sam Bird.

In Group B, for even numbered cars, the fastest time swapped between Tom Dillmann, Evans, Jolyon Palmer and Fabio Leimer.

Evans was on the pace from the outset in Monaco. First time out in GP2 on the twisting street circuit – with all 26 cars running - he was third fastest behind Bird and Dilmann. Cecotto was sixth fastest in that 30 minute practice session ahead of the split qualifying run.

In qualifying Cecotto earned the Group A runners the cleaner left-hand side of the grid. He will start with Evans alongside him, with row two comprising Bird and Leimer.

Ceccon and Palmer will share row three, ahead of Leal and Dillmann. Frontrunners Felipe Nasr and Robin Frijns will start ninth and 10th, with points leader Stefano Coletti down in 14th.

GP2 Monaco Media Conference quotes from Mitch Evans:

GP2 Series: Mitch, P1 from your group and P2 for tomorrow. Not too bad for a rookie…

Mitch Evans: I am very happy. To be honest I am slightly disappointed though because we made a few set up changes that did not work and the car was very tricky to drive. So I am happy to put it on the front row, but my lap was not amazing.

It’s a very good result for the team especially after the past two races. I can’t really complain for that because it’s what the team was needing and wanting. We managed a good step forward from Barcelona, but this track here is very unique. I hope we can continue the pace for the next races, but first we have tomorrow’s race to focus on and also the sprint race on Saturday and hopefully we can have a good run, a clean start. Right now, I’m going to focus on that and see what happens from there…

GP2 Series: So you’re saying that you had what it take to start from pole tomorrow?

 

Mitch: It was really close and yeah… I don’t want to make excuses but I definitely feel like I could have been a lot better. So this is why I am a little bit disappointed. But we’re on the front row, so I’ll take that!

GP2 Series: Johnny is happy that you’re starting on the front row tomorrow. He thinks that a good thing for both of you…

Mitch: We are going to treat it like we’re not in the same team because we both want to win the race and obviously whoever is going to get out of Turn 1 first makes it pretty crucial for the strategy and the pitstop. We have not discussed it too much yet. We’ll see what happens in the race and the team will probably make a decision then. At the moment, I just need to focus on the start and hopefully get passed him. But you never know what could happen. It’s nice to have both cars at the front. They’re working really, really well. It’s good that Johnny and could put both cars on the front row because it’s very good for the team.

GP2 Series: This is the first time that you ran on the super soft tyres. How did they handle?

 

Mitch: That was quite cool to try. I think the degradation this year is a little bit higher than last year so strategy from last year is irrelevant. We’re about to discuss what we’re going to do in terms of strategy and which tyres we run for the start and after the stop. I’m not sure if it’s going to be the super soft for the whole race or if we’re going to run with the primes or not. But the super soft can probably not last for the whole race though. Who knows…? Some may give it a go, but I can’t see them last for the whole race. We will think about the best scenario and have a few options in case I get in the lead or Johnny is in the lead. We’ll try to maximise whatever the situation will be. It’s looking like we could see both compounds used. I’m very excited! Hopefully the pace will still be there tomorrow. I don’t see it going away overnight and hopefully we can put on a good show for the crowd.

 

GP2 Series 4

Monaco Qualifying

Driver Team Time

 

1. Johnny Cecotto Jr Arden 1m 21.141s Group A

2. Mitch Evans Arden 1m 21.157s Group B

3. Sam Bird Russian Time 1m 21.509s Group A

4. Fabio Leimer Racing Engineering 1m 21.185s Group B

5. Kevin Ceccon Trident 1m 21.986s Group A

6. Jolyon Palmer Carlin 1m 21.198s Group B

7. Julian Leal Racing Engineering 1m 22.092s Group A

8. Tom Dillmann Russian Time 1m 21.387s Group B

9. Felipe Nasr Carlin 1m 22.163s Group A

10. Robin Frijns Hilmer 1m 21.418s Group B

11. Marcus Ericsson DAMS 1m 22.349s Group A

12. Sergio Canamasas Caterham 1m 21.522s Group B

13. Alexander Rossi Caterham 1m 22.511s Group A

14. Stefano Coletti Rapax 1m 21.658s Group B

15. Rio Haryanto Addax 1m 22.589s Group A

16. Nathanael Berthon Trident 1m 22.245s Group B

17. James Calado ART 1m 22.677s Group A

18. Stephane Richelmi DAMS 1m 22.317s Group B

19. Daniel de Jong MP 1m 22.943s Group A

20. Rene Binder Lazarus 1m 22.376s Group B

21. Kevin Giovesi Lazarus 1m 23.006s Group A

22. Daniel Abt ART 1m 22.716s Group B

23. Simon Trummer Rapax 1m 23.017s Group A

24. Jake Rosenzweig Addax 1m 22.842s Group B

25. Jon Lancaster Hilmer 1m 23.443s Group A

26. Adrian Quaife-Hobbs MP 1m 23.328s Group B