Vandoorne on pole at Spa; Evans 6th

He wanted it so much: Stoffel Vandoorne pocketed his fourth pole position of the season at home at Spa-Francorchamps thanks to a flawless drive and the perfect strategy. The Belgian driver set a laptime of 1:56.278, one tenth better than rookie Oliver Rowland. Sergey Sirotkin completed the top three.

The pitlane opened in sunny and hot conditions with track temperatures rising to forty degrees. Nobuharu Matsushita was the first driver to feed onto the track with the rest of the pack hot on his tail and on Soft Pirelli tyres. On his first push lap, Vandoorne wasted no time to put pressure on his rivals and was able to set the bar high lapping the track in a 1:56.518. Mitch Evans and then Rowland tried to challenge him but ended up four tenths behind the ART man.

Ten minutes into the session, Vandoorne returned to the pits for his second set of tyres whilst the rest of the field remained out on track and were busy trying to improve on their laptimes. Just as most of them re-joined the pits, Vandoorne decided to go back out and while he worked on putting enough heat in his rubbers, the track cleared. As he was ready for his push lap, he enjoyed a perfectly clear circuit and could improve by two tenths leaving Rowland and Evans six tenths behind. All that was left to do for Vandoorne was to return to the pits, climb out of his car and watch from his ART pitwall to see how the rest of the session unfolded.

In the closing stages and with everyone trying hard to improve, Sirotkin moved up from P12 to P2, but his joy was spoiled when Rowland found some extra pace again to edge the Russian out enjoying his best qualifying result in GP2 on his second ever weekend. But one man was even happier: at the chequered flag, Vandoorne celebrated with his team on a job well done and his fourth pole of the season.

Behind the top three, Jordan King finished fourth – his best result this season – ahead of Matsushita, Evans, Pierre Gasly, Rossi, Alex Lynn and Norman Nato.

Qualifying results
1 Stoffel Vandoorne ART Grand Prix 01:56.3
2 Oliver Rowland MP Motorsport 01:56.4
3 Sergey Sirotkin Rapax 01:56.5
4 Jordan King Racing Engineering 01:56.6
5 Nobuharu Matsushita ART Grand Prix 01:56.7
6 Mitch Evans RUSSIAN TIME 01:56.7
7 Pierre Gasly DAMS 01:56.7
8 Alexander Rossi Racing Engineering 01:56.8
9 Alex Lynn DAMS 01:57.0
10 Norman Nato Arden International 01:57.0
11 Rio Haryanto Campos Racing 01:57.1
12 Raffaele Marciello Trident 01:57.2
13 Robert Visoiu Rapax 01:57.3
14 Arthur Pic Campos Racing 01:57.3
15 Nick Yelloly Hilmer Motorsport 01:57.3
16 Julian Leal Carlin 01:57.4
17 Richie Stanaway Status Grand Prix 01:57.5
18 Sergio Canamasas Daiko Team Lazarus 01:57.6
19 Nathanaël Berthon Daiko Team Lazarus 01:57.6
20 André Negrao Arden International 01:57.7
21 Daniel De Jong MP Motorsport 01:57.7
22 Artem Markelov RUSSIAN TIME 01:57.8
23 Marlon Stockinger Status Grand Prix 01:58.1
24 Gustav Malja Trident 01:58.4
25 Sean Gelael Carlin 01:58.4

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