Dustier and dirtier, the Brooklyn street circuit continued to deliver the unexpected for race two of the weekend. A double rookie pole looked possible as Pierre Gasly improved dramatically but it turned into a DS Virgin lockout with brilliance by Sam Bird.
Fastest in yesterday’s group qualifying, Bird looked likely to dominate group one – fellow draws Nico Prost, Nelson Piquet Jr, Loic Duval and Robin Frijns nowhere near his Saturday time. The circuit carried on throwing up surprises though – Bird topped the group with a definite Super Pole time but Frijns followed him, mistakes ruining Prost and Piquet’s laps and Duval reporting being unable to get into second gear.
Group two featured fearsomely strong yesterday Daniel Abt as well as Super Pole competitor Jerome d’Ambrosio and FP1 favourite Felix Rosenqvist. Antonio Felix Da Costa went for an early hot lap that ultimately didn’t pay off with the Amlin Andretti’s limited pace, followed by a series of blistering 200kw laps.
Rosenqvist emerged topping the timing, followed rapidly by Abt, Oliver Turvey and d’Ambrosio slotting in around Bird and Frijns in Super Pole.
Group three saw an expected fight for Super Pole placing between title contender Lucas di Grassi and yesterday’s second place Jean-Eric Vergne, only to be immediately upset by an incredible change for form for rookie Pierre Gasly. Having qualified dead last yesterday, he immediately put in the fastest time of the day so far – topping Rosenqvist and Vergne grabbing a place in front of Bird’s initially swift-looking lap.
di Grassi once more came in behind his teammate, managing only seventh during a weekend where his title contention is under incredible pressure. Another upset in group four saw yesterday’s pole-sitter Alex Lynn only manage fourteenth, although with considerable issues on the car.
In group four, a competitive lap from Maro Engel edged the bottom of Super Pole but Nick Heidfeld put in a last-minute lap on a clear track to take the final place.
Having said he could have got more from his group qualification lap, Sam Bird looked set to beat Heidfeld’s 1:03:2s initial Super Pole lap. Which he did, by over nine tenths.
Vergne and Rosenqvist failed to improve on the time and an error from Gasly left him salvaging P4 from his group qualifying brilliance, saved by Heidfeld’s scruffy lap more than his own speed.
Hazel Southwell | e-racing.net