Tonio Liuzzi took a stunning last-minute pole position for the latest International Superstars Series round at the Hungaroring in Budapest.
The CAAL Racing Mercedes driver rocketed to the top of the times early in the session, with a banker that matched his practice two-topping time down to the hundredth. He then spent the best part of 20 minutes sitting in the pits and falling down the order, emerging with just seconds remaining to scorch his way to a 1m52.513s - more than four tenths of a second clear of the rest of the field.
In doing so, Liuzzi denied Norbert Michelisz a popular hometown pole position. On his debut in the Superstars Series, the Hungarian did a fantastic job in the Scuderia Guidici BMW to wind up second fastest, having led the last four minutes of the session.
Gianni Morbidelli spent more time than anyone sitting in provisional pole position. The Audi Sport Italia driver set his best time on his first flying lap, and that mark stood until Michelisz and Liuzzi joined the party late in the session. Morbidelli tried to improve with one last run late in the piece, but was forced to settle for third, alongside his team-mate Thomas Schoffler.
Thomas Biagi was the best of the Dinamic BMWs with fifth fastest, ahead of Christian Klien, the ex-Formula 1 driver qualifying an impressive sixth on his debut in the Swiss Team Maserati.
Surprisingly, points leader Johan Kristoffersson could manage just seventh in the KMS Audi, ahead of Biagi's team-mate Stefano Gabellini. Even more surprising was that the second best Mercedes in the field (behind Liuzzi) was Romeo Ferraris' Camilo Zurcher, who will start way down in ninth.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Tonio Liuzzi CAAL Mercedes 1m52.513s 2. Norbert Michelisz Giudici BMW 1m52.941s + 0.428s 3. Gianni Morbidelli Audi Italia 1m53.174s + 0.661s 4. Thomas Schoffler MTM Audi 1m53.285s + 0.772s 5. Thomas Biagi Dinamic BMW 1m53.301s + 0.788s 6. Christian Klien Swiss Maserati 1m53.413s + 0.900s 7. Johan Kristoffersson KMS Audi 1m53.528s + 1.015s 8. Stefano Gabellini Dinamic BMW 1m53.933s + 1.420s 9. Camilo Zurcher Romeo Mercedes 1m54.227s + 1.714s 10. Max Pigoli Ferlito Jaguar 1m54.498s + 1.985s 11. Francesco Sini Solaris Chevrolet 1m54.500s + 1.987s 12. Andrea Larini Romeo Mercedes 1m54.747s + 2.234s 13. Paolo Meloni W&D BMW 1m54.890s + 2.377s 14. Franco Fumi Dinamic BMW 1m55.268s + 2.755s 15. Domenico Ferlito Ferlito Jaguar 1m55.272s + 2.759s