Antonio Felix da Costa will start the first race of this weekend’s final GP3 Series round from the front row of the grid after a tightly fought qualifying session around the Autodromo di Monza. The Carlin man had been quick from the off and had been trading places at the top with team mate William Buller however da Costa lost out on pole by just 0.020 seconds and will start from second place. Buller qualified in seventh while Alex Brundle struggled to get a tow on his quick lap leaving him to qualifying 19th.

The final qualifying session of the 2012 GP3 Series saw a stream of drivers take to the track as the lights went out – all of them keen to get their laps in early and to gain the advantage of a tow from the cars ahead.

Currently lying second in the championship da Costa took to the track and began fighting for position and aiming for pole. However it was Buller who was the fastest of the Carlin men during the opening lap, moving up to sixth place before setting another great lap to sit at the top.

Behind him, da Costa was going even quicker however despite setting the fastest first sector the Red Bull Junior caught a little bit of traffic in the final corners which took provisional pole away from him – crossing the line in second. His next lap was good enough to go quickest while Buller was also looking strong and crossed the line to go third before they both returned to the pits.

Meanwhile Brundle was having a difficult session and was unable to find a flying lap – lying out of position in 18th place before coming into the pits for a few adjustments himself.
The clock continued to count away the minutes of the final qualifying session of the year; and with just 12 minutes left the three Carlin men returned to the track for their final run.

As had been the earlier story Buller and da Costa continued to trade places with both of them remaining in the top three throughout. However da Costa came under pressure from his Championship rival Mitch Evans who set a flying lap to knock the Carlin man down to second. Fighting hard during the next two laps da Costa was close but unable to snatch back the pole position and four championship points.

Buller had fallen down the order as a multitude of drivers crossed the line and was unable to improve on his previous lap which saw him qualify in seventh place. Brundle’s tough qualifying continued and he crossed the line to qualify 19th.

‘Now I have to push to get a good start and a good race this afternoon,’ said da Costa, ‘which is what I’ve been doing all year. I like starting from second place on the grid – I just don’t like losing the four points to Mitch [Evans]. The team did a good job today and we know we have the pace. This afternoon we’ll be trying to win and get the points for the championship – there are only two races left and I think from here both of them can be strong.’