Beijing's Martin takes pole in Portugal

John Martin scored his second Superleague Formula pole position of the season at the Autodromo do Algarve in Portugal for Beijing Guoan

Beijing's Martin takes pole in Portugal

In a closely-matched final of the football club-based series' head-to-head knockout qualifying system, Martin was only fractionally ahead of Davide Rigon (Anderlecht) at the first two splits, but an emphatic final sector gave him pole by 0.185 seconds.

Rigon laid waste to Andy Soucek (Galatasaray) in the first semi-final, outpacing the Spaniard by 2.5s after Soucek ran wide at the first corner.

Martin won an entertaining duel with Max Wissel (Basel) in the second semi: Wissel was fastest through the first sector by six hundredths of a second, but Martin turned it around in the other two sectors, winning through by 0.225s.

In the quarter-finals, Rigon thrashed Alvaro Parente (Porto) by over a second; Soucek beat Robert Doornbos (Corinthians) by 0.618s; Martin defeated ADR stablemate Craig Dolby (Tottenham Hotspur) by 0.726s and Wissel outpaced Duncan Tappy (Flamengo) by 0.656s.

Yelmer Buurman was a shock non-qualifier from the group stages, the AC Milan driver - second in the points table - only seventh-fastest in the first session, which was topped by Rigon, Martin, Soucek and Tappy.

As well as Buurman, those to go out at the first hurdle were series debutant Neel Jani (Olympiacos), Frederic Vervisch (Liverpool), Hywel Lloyd (PSV Eindhoven) and Tristan Gommendy (Lyon).

In Group B, Wissel set the fastest time - which would not have even got him through the first session - ahead of Doornbos, Dolby and Parente. Knocked out here were Marcos Martinez (Sevilla), newcomer Maximo Cortes (Sporting Lisbon), a troubled Julien Jousse (Roma), Maria de Villota (Atletico Madrid) and Celso Miguez (Bordeaux).

Pos Driver Team Time Session 1. John Martin Beijing Guoan 1m33.149s Pole shoot-out 2. Davide Rigon RSC Anderlecht 1m33.334s Pole shoot-out 3. Max Wissel FC Basel 1m33.784s Semi-final 2 4. Andy Soucek Galatasaray 1m35.763s Semi-final 1 5. Robert Doornbos Corinthians 1m34.335s Quarter-final 2 6. Craig Dolby Tottenham Hotspur 1m33.893s Quarter-final 3 7. Duncan Tappy Flamengo 1m34.197s Quarter-final 4 8. Alvaro Parente FC Porto 1m34.236s Quarter-final 1 9. Neel Jani Olympiacos 1m33.472s Group A 10. Marcos Martinez Sevilla FC 1m34.375s Group B 11. Frederic Vervisch Liverpool FC 1m33.550s Group A 12. Maxi Cortes Sporting 1m34.461s Group B 13. Yelmer Buurman AC Milan 1m33.684s Group A 14. Julien Jousse AS Roma 1m34.790s Group B 15. Hywel Lloyd PSV Eindhoven 1m33.831s Group A 16. Maria de Villota Atletico de Madrid 1m35.260s Group B 17. Tristan Gommendy Olympique Lyonnais 1m34.043s Group A 18. Celso Miguez Girondins 1m35.722s Group B 
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