Alexander Rossi takes GP2 pole in Abu Dhabi after Marcus Ericsson has time disallowed
Championship rivals Sam Bird second and Fabio Leimer fourth
By William Esler
Last Updated: 01/11/13 5:13pm
The Caterham driver had been on top for most of the session, but appeared to have lost out when after a late red flag Ericsson went quickest by three tenths of a second. The American improved to within seven thousandths of the DAMS driver, whose time then was disallowed by the stewards after the chequered flag had fallen.
The Swiss driver's penalty was good news for Britain's Sam Bird who was the best of the title contenders and now starts second. Jolyon Palmer is between the RUSSIAN TIME driver and championship rival Fabio Leimer who starts in fourth.
Felipe Nasr, who is 31 points behind Leimer in the standings, starts eighth, but long-time Series leader Stefano Coletti's hopes are all but over after he qualified down in 18th spot. The Monegasque driver must now win both races, secure the fastest lap points and hope that Leimer fails to score and Bird picks up no more than seven points if he is to take title.
As ever in GP2 the stewards were left with a number of incidents to investigate meaning the grid order could change again before Saturday morning's race.
Rossi came across a slow moving Abt on the exit of turn 19 a third of the way through the session and had to take avoiding action to avoid what could have been a nasty accident reminiscent of Nico Rosberg's clash with Narain Karthikeyan in last year's Abu Dhabi GP. Abt is also the subject of a second inquiry for an unsafe release after his wheelnut worked its way loose at turn 11 causing the red flag.
Gianmarco Raimondo is under investigation for blocking after the Trident driver was slowed at turn 20 as Mitch Evans pitted ahead of him causing James Calado to swerve around the Canadian, although any grid penalty will have little impact as he qualified last.
GP2 Qualifying - Abu Dhabi
1) Alexander Rossi (USA) - Caterham Racing - +0.007
2) Sam Bird (GBR) - RUSSIAN TIME - +0.317
3) Jolyon Palmer (GBR) - Carlin - +0.452
4) Fabio Leimer (SUI) - Racing Engineering - +0.561
) Tom Dillmann (FRA) - RUSSIAN TIME - +0.748
6) Johnny Cecotto (VEN) - Arden International - +0.756
7) Jon Lancaster (GBR) - Hilmer Motorsport - +0.903
8) Felipe Nasr (BRA) - Carlin - +0.905
) Stephane Richelmi (MON) - DAMS - +0.911
10) Dani Clos (GER) - MP Motorsport - +0.915
12) Marcus Ericsson (SWE) - DAMS - +0.979
14) James Calado (GBR) - ART Grand Prix - +1.078 * will take five-place grid penalty
17) Adrian Quaife-Hobbs (GBR) - Hilmer Motorsport - +1.586
18) Stefano Coletti (MON) - Rapax - +1.610
Sky's GP2 and GP3 schedule
Saturday 2nd November
6am - GP3 Qualifying - Live!
8:05am - GP2 Feature Race - Live!
2:30pm - GP3 Race One - Live!
8:35pm - GP2 Feature Race - replay
Sunday 3rd November
8:05am - GP3 Race Two - Live!
9:10am - GP2 Sprint Race Live!