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Anderlecht's Rigon takes Adria pole

Davide Rigon and Anderlecht celebrate Adria poleAnderlecht's Davide Rigon will start tomorrow's opening Superleague Formula race in Adria from pole position after defeating Beijing Guoan's John Martin in the knockout final.

Rigon set the pace early on during the knockout stages - recording the fastest time of the day as he did so with 1m06.128s - and lapped the Adria Raceway nearly half a second faster than Martin in the final. His second pole of the season ends a chain of maiden Superleague pole positions scored so far in 2010.

Martin will line up alongside Rigon on the front row after making an error on his only flying lap. The Australian admitted to being "a bit disappointed" after locking both front brakes into turn one and losing 0.237 seconds in the first sector alone.

"Davide did an awesome job, so hats off to him really," a still-smiling Martin said. "But we've got quite a good car, so I'm really looking forward to the race."

It had been a different story in the second semi-final, when Martin defeated an on-the-pace Alavaro Parente (FC Porto). Ahead by only 0.099s after the second sector, Martin blitzed the final few corners and crossed the line 0.423s faster than the Portugese driver, who enjoyed his best qualifying performance since the opening round at Silverstone.

Another surprise contender was Olympiacos debutant Ben Hanley, who in the first semi final immediately pulled 0.116s ahead of Rigon. Normal service was resumed, however, when the Anderlecht driver overturned the deficit in the final complex and crossed the line 0.235s ahead. Hanley will start his first Superleague Formula race from fourth place.

The first quarter final pitted Rigon against AC Milan's Yelmer Buurman, both of whom had lapped quickly the session before. Like Hanley, Buurman held an advantage over Rigon in the first sector - 0.203s this time - but the Dutchman's car stepped out badly, destroying his line into the chicane. That, coupled with a wide exit out of the final corner, allowed Rigon to cross the line 0.273s ahead.

The gap similarly ebbed and flowed in the second quarter final. Hanley held the lead into sector one by 0.118s before morning pacesetter Max Wissel (FC Basel) powered through to take the lead by 0.42s at the second. The cars were split at the line by just 0.88s, in Hanley's favour.

Alavaro Parente came though to beat Julien Jousse (AS Roma) by 0.111s in the third quarter final, whilst John Martin easily defeated Liverpool new boy Frederic Vervisch by over half a second in the fourth.

In the knockout stages, Martin topped Group A - Superleague's latest highly competitive 'group of death'. Marcos Martinez (Sevilla) could not repeat his qualifying performance from Brands Hatch and was one of the first to fall, alongside Robert Doornbos (Corninthians), Celso Miguel (Olympique Lyonnais) who lapped over a second off the pace after problems in practice and a frustrated Duncan Tappy (Flamengo), who came close to knocking out current championship leader, Yelmer Buurman.

It was Group B, however, that produced the biggest surprise. Craig Dolby (Tottenham Hotspur) continued to struggle with old tyres and remained on the knockout fringes throughout. A stellar final flying lap from Vervisch eclipsed Dolby's best effort by just 0.06s just one minute before the chequered flag dropped. Dolby could not better his time, and was joined on the sidelines by Tristan Gommendy (Galatasaray) and fellow Briton, Hywell Lloyd (PSV Eindhoven).

Maria de Villota (Atletico Madrid) did not start her qualifying run after aggravating an old neck injury through Adria's high speed left-hand turns.

Pos  Driver             Team                Time       In session
 1.  Davide Rigon       RSC Anderlecht      1m06.644s  Pole shootout
 2.  John Martin        Beijing Guoan       1m07.099s  Pole shootout
 3.  Alvaro Parente     FC Porto            1m06.990s  Semi final 2
 4.  Ben Hanley         Olympiacos          1m06.960s  Semi final 1
 5.  Max Wissel         FC Basel            1m06.997s  Quarter final 2
 6.  Julien Jousse      AS Roma             1m07.180s  Quarter final 3
 7.  Frederic Vervisch  Liverpool FC        1m07.200s  Quarter final 4
 8.  Yelmer Buurman     AC Milan            1m07.226s  Quarter final 1
 9.  Craig Dolby        Tottenham Hotspur   1m06.743s  Group B
10.  Duncan Tappy       Flamengo            1m06.929s  Group A
11.  Tristan Gommendy   Galatasaray         1m07.018s  Group B
12.  Marcos Martinez    Sevilla FC          1m06.945s  Group A
13.  Hywel Lloyd        PSV Eindhoven       1m08.328s  Group B
14.  Robert Doornbos    Corinthians         1m07.217s  Group A
15.  Celso Miguez       Olympique Lyonnais  1m07.743s  Group A
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Team apologises to Parente for error
Rigon adds super final victory
Sevilla's Martinez claims first win
Rigon win gives Anderlecht title shot
Hanley targets podium on debut
De Villota pulls out of Adria round
Dolby plays down troubled practice
Rigon quickest for Anderlecht
Basel's Wissel leads first practice