Stefano Coletti takes GP2 Malaysia pole
But moment of madness from Cecotto overshadows session
By William Esler
Last Updated: 17/09/13 1:18pm
Just eight thousandths of a second separated the top three drivers, with James Calado and Felipe Nasr just behind the Monegasque driver - underlining how competitive the series could be this season.
However, despite the close battle at the top, the session will be remembered for a moment of madness from Johnny Cecotto.
Whilst on a hot lap, the Arden driver was catching Sam Bird, who was circulating slowly to cool his Pirelli tyres. The Brit pulled off the racing line to allow the Venezuelan through, but instead of continuing on his lap, Cecotto swerved to the right, making contact with Bird and forcing him off the track.
Cecotto finished the session in 14th place, but the stewards excluded him from the results for the incident.
Bird was also penalised, dropping three places on the grid after being found guilty of blocking Cecotto between turns five and six.
Whilst one Arden driver felt the wrath of the stewards, the other, Mitch Evans, was making an impact on his GP2 debut. The 2012 GP3 Champion looked quick during practice and qualifying. He finished sixth fastest, but Bird's penalty means he will start in fifth.
Nasr, who finished on the podium at Sepang in 2012 when racing for DAMS, was delighted with the start at his new team.
"It's a good start to the year, we thought we had a good car in qualifying and we've proved that here," Carlin's Brazilian said.
"The most important thing is the race and it's so hot here it will be all about looking after the tyres and making sure we get a strong result. We've done the important thing in starting in a good place, and I'm pleased for the team that all the hard work in testing has paid off.
"James [Calado] is a good starter and both he and Stefano [Coletti] have been quick in testing so for sure it will be a tough race but we will fight them. The main thing is to finish the race and score some good points."
GP2 Qualifying Malaysia
1) Stefano Coletti (MON) - Rapax - 1:44.280
2) James Calado (GBR) - ART - +0.004
3) Felipe Nasr (BRA) - Carlin - +0.008
4) Fabio Leimer (SWI) - Racing Engineering - +0.183
5) Mitch Evans (NZL) - Arden - +0.338
6) Rio Haryanto (INA) - Barwa Addax - +0.401
7) Rene Binder (AUT) - Venezuela GP Lazarus - +0.407
8) Sam Bird (GBR) - RUSSIAN TIME - +0.318 *PENALTY
9) Simon Trummer (SWI) - Rapax - +0.412
10) Tom Dillmann (FRA) - RUSSIAN TIME - +0.451
15) Adrian Quaife-Hobbs (GBR) - MP Motorsport - +0.911
23) Jolyon Palmer (GBR) - Carlin - +1.382