Toro Rosso Formula 1 signing Daniil Kvyat closed the gap on championship rival Facu Regalia by setting pole position for race one of GP3’s 2013 title decider in Abu Dhabi.
MW Arden driver Kvyat lapped the Yas Marina circuit in 1m55.473s to take pole, while ART’s Regalia struggled to find pace and will start 10th.
Kvyat is now just three points behind as a result of the four bonus points for pole. Regalia, whose struggle for grip was clear as he slid onto the run-off during one of his early runs, made a rear suspension change for his second effort on fresh tires but to little avail.
Carlin’s Nick Yelloly will start alongside Kvyat on the front row, with another title contender, Kevin Korjus, in third. Korjus showed great pace through the opening two sectors, but appeared to struggle in the switchback section around the hotel.
Alexander Sims continued to perform well in his continued late-season cameo with Carlin and starts fourth, ahead of championship outsider Jack Harvey of ART.
Carlos Sainz Jr. qualified sixth, salvaging a decent starting position as his best time was disallowed for what video replays suggested was a very marginal track-limits call at the final corner.
Conor Daly, who is fourth in points, starts seventh, ahead of Patric Niederhauser and series debutant Dean Stoneman (LEFT), who qualified an impressive ninth for his international open-wheel return.
The last of the title contenders, Tio Ellinas, who led the series for the first part of the season, will start 12th.
None of the top six were eliminated from the title fight as a result of missing out on the four points for pole, but there will certainly be casualties in Saturday evening’s race, the first-ever main series night race for either GP3 or GP2.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Daniil Kvyat MW Arden 1m55.473s 2. Nick Yelloly Carlin 1m55.753s +0.280s 3. Kevin Korjus Koiranen 1m55.785s +0.312s 4. Alexander Sims Carlin 1m56.221s +0.748s 5. Jack Harvey ART 1m56.265s +0.792s 6. Carlos Sainz Jr MW Arden 1m56.392s +0.919s 7. Conor Daly ART 1m56.442s +0.969s 8. Patric Niederhauser Jenzer 1m56.487s +1.014s 9. Dean Stoneman Koiranen 1m56.560s +1.087s10. Facu Regalia ART 1m56.722s +1.249s11. Giovanni Venturini Trident 1m56.730s +1.257s12. Tio Ellinas Manor 1m56.928s +1.455s13. Jimmy Eriksson Status 1m57.057s +1.584s14. Robert Visoiu MW Arden 1m57.095s +1.622s15. Dino Zamparelli Manor 1m57.281s +1.808s16. Alex Fontana Jenzer 1m57.420s +1.947s17. Emanuele Zonzini Trident 1m57.445s +1.972s18. Patrick Kujala Koiranen 1m57.667s +2.194s19. Luis Sa Silva Carlin 1m57.967s +2.494s20. Robert Cregan Trident 1m58.040s +2.567s21. Josh Webster Status 1m58.115s +2.642s22. Adderly Fong Status 1m58.328s +2.855s23. Samin Gomez Jenzer 1m58.522s +3.049s24. Alice Powell Bamboo 1m58.553s +3.080s25. Ryan Cullen Manor 1m58.804s +3.331s26. Carmen Jorda Bamboo 1m59.400s +3.927s