Qualifying: Pole for Leinders and Vilarino

Basque Ander Vilarino took an excellent pole position for the Superfund World Series by Nissan race at Valencia. The winner at Barcelona two weeks ago, amazed even himself with his performance, which earned him his second pole in three races

Qualifying: Pole for Leinders and Vilarino

Vilarino broke the track record for the 450-bhp machines - set by Ricardo Zonta last year - as he secured the best starting slot for the second of Sunday races.

The Epsilon Euskadi said: "I couldn't believe I was on pole after the engine problems I had yesterday. I thought I had a chance of pole after I was just 0.1s of the top in the first session and even though I had a lot of oversteer I just pushed really hard. I am tired now because I have never fought a car so hard."

There was just one second covering 17 of the 18 cars in qualifying for the first session. With only 0.1s, the difference between pole man Bas Leinder and Vilarino in fifth. Racing Engineering's Leinders was just as surprised as the Spaniard with his number one grid slot.

He said: "I was not a perfect lap at all. I had problems with traffic twice and had to lift off for a yellow flag. But I am very pleased to be on pole. It is very close, which proves the high level of this championship and the drivers involved."

Vilarino's Epsilon Euskadi team-mate, Jean Christophe Ravier, was second quickest in the first session, underlining the step forward the team has made in competitiveness in the second half of the season. Racing Engineering's Stephane Sarrazin was third on the grid, to boost the team's chances of overtaking Gabord Competicion in the teams' championship.

New series champion Franck Montagny was only sixth on the grid for race one, and will start race two from the very end after he did only two laps in qualifying as the team tries to save engine miles. His absence from the front two rows gave others the opportunity to shine and local hero Felix Porteiro was a fine third fastest for race two. And with his sponsors looking on this weekend, it was a perfect time to produce one of his best performances of the season.

He said: "I thought it was going to be a difficult weekend after I broke my engine in Friday practice. I was a bit concerned how the car would work on new tyres, but we found a nice set-up. I am feeling confident for the race."

Only 18 cars will take part in the race after Le Mans 24 Hour winner Guy Smith decided not to take part in qualifying. The Zele Racing driver was unhappy with the handling of his car, and did not wish to take part in the race if he felt there was no opportunity to be competitive.

Bas Leinders Racing Engineering 1m23.317s
Jean Christophe Ravier Epsilon Euskadi +0.008
Stephane Sarrazin Racing Engineering +0.046s
Narain Karthikeyan Tata Team Carlin +0.099s
Ander Vilarino Epsilon Euskadi +0.127s
Franck Montagny Gabord Competicion +0.293s


Ander Vilarino Epsilon Euskadi 1m22.947s
Jean Christophe Ravier Epsilon Euskadi +0.147s
Felix Porteiro KTR +0.385s
Bas Leinders Racing Engineering +0.478s
Stephane Sarrazin Racing Engineering +0.521s
Narain Karthikeyan Tata Team Carlin +0.528s

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