Kiwi Mitch Evans will start the GP2 series fourth round feature race eighth on the grid as top class racing returns to Austria and the newly-named Red Bull Ring for the first time since 2003.
Evans, who was sixth quickest in morning practice, found it difficult to find a clear qualifying lap around the relatively short 4.326km track but is confident that the track layout should facilitate good racing and the opportunity to move forward. Evans lapped in 1m15.614s amid an amazingly tight classification that saw Johnny Cecotto take pole position with 1:15.312, series leader Jolyon Palmer second on 1:15.352 and Brazilian Felipe Nasr third, with 1:15.358!
Russian rookie Artem Markelov (1:16.136) will start the race 18th but fell foul of a 700 Euro fine for speeding in the pitlane.
Mitch Evans: “That was very average, to be honest. I got about two clear laps out of the whole session, with a lot of traffic in the last sector and people slowing down to start quick laps. Performance-wise we’re still not quite there -- I couldn’t really get the tyres in. Practice was alright and the balance was okay but then on the option tyre it took me about three laps to get a good feeling from the car. Eighth is not where I want to be but hopefully we can still do something from there.”
Artem Markelov: “It’s a fine track, with a good flow. The second and third sectors are high speed and quite cool. I was pleased to find a second from practice to qualifying, but it’s amazing to look at the time sheet and see that there is just over 1.3s covering the entire grid!”
Paul Jackson, Team Manager: “That was an amazingly tight session. It’s a short lap with low grip and the tyre degradation is much less here. Mitch had a lot of laps spoiled by traffic while Artem made progress and moved up the order.”
Svetlana Strelnikova, Team Principal: “It’s a fabulous circuit with elevation changes, high-speed sections and outbraking opportunities, so both Mitch and Artem will be trying to realise their full potential in tomorrow’s first race.”