ART Grand Prix’s Stoffel Vandoorne has claimed his eighth career pole ahead of tomorrow’s Feature Race for the Belgian Grand Prix.

The McLaren protégé set the benchmark on his first flying lap, a 1:56.518 and was called to the weighbridge shortly after for a random weight check.

Russian Time’s Mitch Evans looks to have his season back on track after a string of luckless races which saw a mix of mechanical faults disrupt his race weekends. Evans was running as high as second until Oliver Rowland – who is only in racing in his second round in the GP2 series – set his first flying lap which bumped the Kiwi down to third.

Nobuharu Matsushita was running fourth ahead of Alex Lynn and Jordan King by the time the mid-session lull took Vandoorne - Spaplace, where all of the drivers tend to return to the pits and talk with their engineers.

Vandoorne took this time utilise the free track available to him, just like DAMS had done last round in Hungary with Alex Lynn, resulting in pole position. Vandoorne posted a 1:56.278, two-tenths quicker than his previous best, cementing a front row start for the Feature Race.

While Vandoorne’s job was done, he watched from the pit wall to see if anyone would relegate his provisional pole position. Alexander Rossi posed a threat when he set a first sector time three-tenths quicker than that of Vandoorne’s, however, he was slower in the second sector by seven tenths of a second which put him out of contention to steal pole.

Matsushita put in a fast lap time good enough for second place until Sergey Sirotkin quickly demoted him down to third. King then split the pair in his Racing Engineering machine, while Evans ended the session in sixth place ahead of Pierre Gasly.

Rowland was the last of the front running cars over the line and retook his second position from Sirotkin. Rio Haryanto was running in eighteenth place until he found some time right at the end of the session to move himself up into eleventh place.

The 25-lap Feature Race takes place at 15:40 local time (GMT +2).

Driver Team / Entry Time Gap
1. Stoffel Vandoorne be ART Grand Prix 1:56.278
2. Oliver Rowland uk MP Motorsport 1:56.425 + 0.147
3. Sergey Sirotkin ru Rapax 1:56.513 + 0.235
4. Jordan King uk Racing Engineering 1:56.625 + 0.347
5. Nobuharu Matsushita jp ART Grand Prix 1:56.659 + 0.381
6. Mitch Evans nz Russian Time 1:56.661 + 0.383
7. Pierre Gasly fr DAMS 1:56.701 + 0.423
8. Alexander Rossi us Racing Engineering 1:56.845 + 0.567
9. Alex Lynn uk DAMS 1:56.985 + 0.707
10. Norman Nato fr Arden International 1:57.019 + 0.741
11. Rio Haryanto id Campos Racing 1:57.143 + 0.865
12. Raffaele Marciello it Trident 1:57.218 + 0.940
13. Robert Vișoiu ro Rapax 1:57.273 + 0.995
14. Arthur Pic fr Campos Racing 1:57.275 + 0.997
15. Nick Yelloly uk Hilmer Motorsport 1:57.328 + 1.050
16. Julián Leal co Carlin 1:57.440 + 1.162
17. Richie Stanaway nz Status Grand Prix 1:57.528 + 1.250
18. Sergio Canamasas es Daiko Team Lazarus 1:57.560 + 1.282
19. Nathanaël Berthon fr Daiko Team Lazarus 1:57.615 + 1.337
20. André Negrão br Arden International 1:57.661 + 1.383
21. Daniël de Jong nl MP Motorsport 1:57.746 + 1.468
22. Artem Markelov ru Russian Time 1:57.809 + 1.531
23. Marlon Stöckinger ph Status Grand Prix 1:58.136 + 1.858
24. Gustav Malja at Trident 1:58.371 + 2.093
25. Sean Galeal id Carlin 1:58.402 + 2.124

Images via GP2 Series Media

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Josh Kruse

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