Tio Ellinas will start from pole for the first GP3 Series race of 2013 in Barcelona
Cypriot inherits pole after Kevin Korjus given grid penalty
By William Esler. Last Updated: 17/09/13 1:22pm
Tio Ellinas: Will start from pole in Barcelona (Image: GP3 Series Media)
Tio Ellinas will start from pole for the first race of the 2013 GP3 season after inheriting the top spot from Kevin Korjus, who takes a ten-place grid penalty.
Heading into qualifying, Korjus, team-mate Patrick Kujala, MW Arden's Carlos Sainz Jr and Jenzer's Alex Fontana knew they would be issued with ten-place drops after the session for ignoring yellow flags during Friday's practice.
This was the first competitive running for the new GP3 car, and sounding much better than its predecessor, the fans at the Circuit de Catalunya were treated to a thrilling session.
Robert Visoiu was first man to post a benchmark time in the 1:38s, but that was quickly obliterated by Sainz and Korjus, as the name at the top seemingly changed by the second.
At the mid-point of the session Swiss driver Patric Niederhauser became the first man to dip below the 1:35 barrier as the drivers bolted on fresh rubber for a final attempt for the top spot.
With six minutes to go Ellinas went fastest, but it was still anyone's guess as to who would start from pole.
A spin for Ryan Cullen at turn 12 brought out the yellow flags with four minutes to go, leaving the drivers with just one final lap once his Marussia had been recovered.
Alex Fontana was the first man to try and challenge Ellinas's time, but was three tenths off the pace with 20 seconds to go in the session.
Korjus was the next man across the line and edged the Cypriot by just four hundredths of a second. Behind him Niederhauser was the last man to challenge for top spot, but only went third - his best ever qualifying performance in the series.
After the session Daniil Kvyat was issued with a three-place grid penalty after the stewards found him guilty of blocking Conor Daly.
GP3 Spain Qualifying
1) Kevin Korjus (EST) - Koiranen GP - 1:34.193 *Will take a ten-place grid penalty
2) Tio Ellinas (CYP) - Marussia Manor Racing - +0.040
3) Patric Niederhauser (SWI) - Jenzer Motorsport - +0.251
4) Alex Fontana (SWI) - Jenzer Motorsport - +0.388 *Will take a ten-place grid penalty
5) Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) - MW Arden - +0.442 *Will take a ten-place grid penalty
6) Conor Daly (USA) - ART Grand Prix - +0.617
7) Danil Kvyat (RUS) - MW Arden - +0.796 *Will take three-place grid penalty
8) Nick Yelloly (GBR) - Carlin - +0.918
9) Aaro Vainio (FIN) - Koiranen GP - +0.990
10) Facu Regalia (ARG) - ART Grand Prix - +1.013
11) Jack Harvey (GBR) - ART Grand Prix - +1.057
12) Dino Zamparelli (GBR) - Marussia Manor Racing - +1.141
17) Lewis Williamson (GBR) - Bamboo Engineering - +1.532
22) Melville McKee (GBR) - Bamboo Engineering - +2.271
25) Ryan Cullen (GBR) - Marussia Manor Racing - +2.811
26) Josh Webster (GBR) - Status Grand Prix - +2.837