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pic 21/05/15 Alexander Rossi dominates Qualifying at a wet Monaco today.

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The weather at Monaco today for the 45 minute free practice session was much cooler than the GP2 teams had faced so far with air and track temperatures of 14° and 21° respectively but, fortunately, the rain that had affected the earlier F1 practice session showed no sign of returning. All the cars were using the Pirelli P Zero Yellow soft compound tyres at the start of the session.

Alexander led the cars out of the pits as the lights turned green but almost immediately the car of Evans stopped on the track with a mechanical problem and the session was red-flagged for several minutes while the car was removed from the circuit. The young American was quickly setting the pace, going fastest with a lap of 1:32.115s, he improved this to 1:24.338s and then 1:22.624s to remain top of the timing lists. After 15 minutes of the session Alexander returned to the pits for some set-up changes, returning to the track to go 2nd fastest with a 1:21.610s. One more pitstop for a set of the supersoft tyres in the closing minutes of the session saw the Racing Engineering driver go faster still with a lap of 1:20.775s to finish the session in 2nd position.

For Jordan this would be his first outing on the streets of Monte Carlo and he was soon setting some fast laps going 14th with a 1:25.189 and, as the lap times dropped, he set a very impressive 1:22.465s lap to go 4th fastest. He pitted at the halfway point of the session for some set-up changes and then with nine minutes remaining he stopped again for some supersoft tyres and he reduced his best lap to 1:22.101s to finish the session in 16th, just half a second away from the top ten.

Qualifying was split into two 16 minute groups with thirteen cars in each, Jordan was in Group A and Alexander was in Group B. It was raining as Group A was due to start and as the light turned green it began rain harder so that all the cars that were fitted with supersoft tyres, except Marciello, did one slow lap before returning to the pits to switch to rain tyres. Jordan immediately went 2nd on his first flying lap with a time of 1:46.286s and after learning about the track in the wet with six minutes remaining he went 2nd with a time of 1:41.895s. Any chance of the Racing Engineering driver improving his time in the final minutes was ruined by several accidents to other cars causing the final laps to be held under a yellow flag so Jordan’s earlier time was good enough for 4th of the 13 cars.

Conditions for Group B were the same as for the Group A runners with a very wet track and everybody on wet tyres. Alexander was flying from the start going fastest with a 1:45.808s and despite an off at the Mirabeau he improved to 1:41.046s and with seven minutes remaining, as the rain began to ease, he took nearly two seconds off his time on his next lap to stay top of the Group with a time of 1:39.242s and he then went even quicker at 1:38.776s. With less than two minutes remaining the Racing Engineering driver set a stunning lap of 1:37.160s and he improved even more to 1:37.042 and then, on his final lap, he set his best lap of 1:37.019, six tenths of a second faster than the next man.

A superb performance from Alexander will see him start tomorrow’s Feature Race from pole position while an excellent drive from Jordan on his maiden Monaco outing will see the young Briton start on the 4th row of the grid in 8th position and both men will be looking for the podium and Alexander must start as a strong favourite to take the victory.
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Team Comments:

Thomas Lassus, Race Engineer: “This was a strong performance from both cars and an outstanding drive from Alexander Rossi. He dominated from the beginning to the end and it was a pleasure to see the car setting purple sectors lap after lap. As for Jordan, it was a good performance from a rookie and he managed to finish in the top 8 during his first qualifying in Monaco. This was even more difficult as it took place in wet conditions and he was fighting with the big names. It is nice to see we were strong in free practice and qualifying, both in the dry and in the wet, which is promising for the rest of the weekend.”

Jordan King: “Qualifying started well and I was in P1 at the beginning of the session, but then a bit of traffic and yellow flags kind of messed up the middle part for me. All in all it was quite encouraging and positive given my speed and I am just a bit disappointed as I could have been faster. Tomorrow I start from P8 and it will be an interesting race where overtaking is limited. The plan is to move up the field and shoot for a good result in the first race.”

Alexander Rossi:: “I went out and was a bit stressed considering free practice was in the dry and qualifying took place in wet conditions. But I have seen from the first session that the car was good and also how Jordan performed. So going out I knew straight away that I have a good car underneath me and it was up to me to make the most out of it. I am very grateful I am on pole, especially on a track like this one and we need to maximise everything for tomorrow.”
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©GP2
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