FIA Sportscars, Brno: Gounon on pole

The BMS Scuderia Italia Ferrari of Jean Marc Gounon and Marco Zadra will start from pole position for the fourth round of the FIA Sportscar Championship at Brno in the Czech Republic

FIA Sportscars, Brno: Gounon on pole

Gounon, who is deputising for Le Mans runner-up Christian Pescatori at the Brescia based team, scorched around the undulating 3.5-mile circuit to grab Ferrari's third pole position of the season so far.

The 1989 French Formula 3 champion and ex-Minardi F1 racer used the nimble 333SP chassis to beat the much more youthful Dome S101 cars of former Le Mans winners John Nielsen and Jan Lammers.

For Gounon it was as near a perfect lap as he could have hoped, on a circuit that was sweltering in humid conditions that saw track temperatures hit the 40 degree mark.

"It was a great free lap and I am even more proud than usual because I have a very limited programme this year and it is easy for a driver to get rusty," he said. "But the critical thing was the tyres that were not lasting long, so you needed to look after them very well on the quick laps."

The Dome Judds of Den Bla Avis Team Goh and Racing For Holland lined up behind the scarlet Ferrari and both teams were confident that they could have wrested pole from the Italians had it not been for minor problems to both of the Japanese cars.

Hiroki Katoh was given qualifying duties for the first time this season and turned in some useful laps that peaked at 1m49.308s before running out of fuel on what would have been a final run before flagfall.

The other Dome S101 driven by Jan Lammers may have lost its Le Mans chess board livery, but the patriotic Dutch team were once more bang on the pace throughout the free practice session this morning and looked to be the favourites to take top spot early on. However, a mysterious understeer developed throughout the 40-minute session and Jan was forced to settle for second place

The ever competitive SR2 category saw a battle royal between the BM Autosport Tampolli of Spa winners Massimo Monti and Renato Nobili, and the SRTS Lola of Seattle's Larry Oberto and 19 year old Swede Thed Bjork.

Monti, who is proving to be the year's driving benchmark in the 3-litre class set a time of 1m56.201s, bettering Bjork's time by just two tenths of a second. The Swedes were about to fight back when the banana yellow Lola B2K/40 ran out of fuel in the pit entrance.

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