First Piccini Pole in Three Years

Andrea Piccini will start an FIA GT Championship race from pole position for the first time in three years tomorrow afternoon

First Piccini Pole in Three Years

The GPC Squadra Corse Ferrari driver was fastest after the opening 45 minutes of qualifying at Istanbul Park and none of the leading contenders improved in the hotter and therefore slower afternoon session.

This gave Piccini his first pole since the final round of the 2002 FIA GT series at Estoril.

Piccini, who will share his GPC 575GTC with Jean-Denis Deletraz in Sunday's two-hour race, explained that he had benefited from a new aero package that had arrived from Italy overnight.

"We were competitive in free practice yesterday, but we were told that the new rear wing and diffuser had shown an improvement on the test car," he said. "On my first run I had a little bit too much rear downforce, so I knew I was going to go quicker on my second set of tyres."

Philipp Peter claimed second on the grid with his first session time aboard the fastest of the two JMB Racing Maserati MC12s. The Austrian, who shares with Can Artam and Christophe Pillon, was less than one tenth of a second shy of the pole time.

The two Vitaphone Maseratis monopolised the second row of the grid, Fabio Babini just shading team mate Timo Scheider's time. They lined up ahead of Larbre Competition driver Christophe Bouchut in the fastest of Ferrari 550 Maranellos.

The only top car to improve in the afternoon was the GLPK-Carsport Chevrolet Corvette after the Dutch team opted to save a set of new tyres for second qualifying.

Mike Hezemans found a nearly half a second to jump to sixth ahead of Pedro Lamy in the Larbre Competition Ferrari 550 Maranello and Andrea Bertolini in the Championship-leading JMB Maserati.

GT2 pole was taken by Mike Rockenfeller, again with a time set in the first session. The German ended up four tenths of a second ahead of GruppeM Porsche team mate Emmanuel Collard, who complained of oversteer on his 911 GT3-RSR.

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Ferrari on Provisional Istanbul Pole
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