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Johnny Cecotto took pole position in a thrilling GP2 qualifying session in Austria

Just 0.046 seconds separated the top three at the Red Bull Ring

By William Esler.   Last Updated: 20/06/14 4:50pm

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Highlights from GP2 qualifying in Austria.

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Johnny Cecotto took pole position in a dramatic GP2 qualifying session in Austria where less than five hundredths of a second separated the top three drivers.

The Venezuelan appears to be a much calmer driver than the one involved in multiple incidents last year and his lap time of 1:15.312, set ten minutes into the session, was enough to give Trident their first pole position since 2012.

He will be joined on the frontrow by championship leader Jolyon Palmer who maintains his record of never qualifying lower than second this season. The DAMS driver finished just 0.04 behind Cecotto, but will have been pleased to hold onto a frontrow spot after a spin on the exit of Turn Eight robbed him of the chance to improve during the final runs.

Third for Felipe Nasr gave the Brazilian his best grid slot of the season, but it was a case of what might have been for the Carlin driver. Having been up on Cecotto’s pole time through the first two sectors, he ran wide at the final turn which, despite some impressive rally cross skills, prevented him from going quickest.

At just 2.7 miles long, space for a clear qualifying lap was difficult to find at the Red Bull Ring with 26 cars on track, leading to Simon Trummer and Daniel Abt both taking to the track during the traditional mid-session lull as the rest of the field pitted for fresh tyres. The strategy didn’t pay off for either, however, with Abt 19th quickest and Trummer 24th.

In the closing minutes Raffaele Marciello, Nasr and Stefano Coletti all threatened Cecotto’s position at the top of the times with numerous personal best and purple first and second sectors, but with a few drops of rain falling in the final corners there was just not enough grip through the right-handers.

Marciello, though, persevered and looked on course for top spot as the chequered flag to come out only to find a slow moving Caterham entering the pits on the apex of Turn Eight which runined his lap and the Ferrari protégé had to make do with fifth spot.

The GP2 Feature Race is live on Sky Sports F1 from 2:35pm on Saturday.

GP2 Qualifying – Austria
1) Johnny Cecotto (VEN) – Trident – 1:15.312
2) Jolyon Palmer (GBR) – DAMS - +0.040
3) Felipe Nasr (BRA) – Carlin - +0.046
4) Stefano Coletti (MON) – Racing Engineering - +0.131
5) Raffaele Marciello (ITA) – Racing Engineering - +0.137
6) Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) – ART Grand Prix - +0.169
7) Arthur Pic (FRA) – Campos Racing - +0.296
8) Mitch Evans (NZL) – Russian Time - +0.302
9) Alexander Rossi (USA) – Caterham Racing - +0.332
10) Stephane Richelmi (MON) – DAMS - +0.352

Selected others
14) Adrian Quaife-Hobbs (GBR) – Rapax - +0.615

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