A turbulent qualifying session for the GlobeAir Grande Finale at the Royal Park of Monza ultimately brought a pole position for Ingo Gerstl and a tragic hero in Phil Stratford.
Right at the beginning of Q1 Ingo Gerstl (AUT, Top Speed) in the Toro Rosso brought out the hammer, set a 1:29.0 on his first flying lap and improved again by 1.6 (!) seconds on the second lap. All the others were beaten by this time. The closest was Phil Stratford (USA, Penn Elcom Racing), who only managed to move up to second place with just one timed lap. Before he caused a red flag.
«Unfortunately, the gearbox got stuck in 6th gear, we had problems yesterday as well. My mechanics worked all night, we only finished 5 minutes before qualifying, they are true heroes,» the US driver knew to thank his crew. At the moment, the crew is trying to get the Benetton from the 1997 season running again for the race. The second Benetton in the field, driven by Ulf Ehninger (GER, ESBA Racing), made it to the second row of the grid in 4th place.
FORMULA driver Simone Colombo (ITA, MM International Motorsport) broke the phalanx of Formula 1 cars with the GP2 Dallara and achieved an excellent starting position for a possible first win of the season with grid position 3. Behind them it tightened up — Marco Ghiotto (ITA, Scuderia Palladio) and Luca Martucci (ITA, MM International Motorsport) rushed around the track in pairs, gave each other slipstream and shared the third row of the grid in the end.
In the meantime, qualifying was interrupted again by a red flag. Thomas Jackermeier (GER, Top Speed) had lost control of the GP2 when braking for the first chicane and brought the car to a halt on a sausage curb. However, race control quickly radioed the all-clear and, with the help of the marshals, the rookie was able to resume his drive. Michael Aberer (AUT, MA Motorsport) had a similar incident. Nevertheless, the Austrian still managed to finish 11th on the grid.
In between, Walter Steding (GER, Scuderia Palladio), Andreas Fiedler (GER, Fiedler Racing), Armando Mangini (ITA, MM International Motorsport) and Paul O’Connell (IRL, HS Engineering), four drivers in positions 7 to 10 on the grid, still have a chance of a podium in the FORMULA class.
The first race in the Temple of Speed will start today at 15:35 local time.
Photo: Angelo Poletto/BOSS GP