Couto claims pole

Andre Couto moved a step closer to a Macau double by claiming pole for this weekend's Guia touring car race.

Couto claims pole

The Alfa Romeo driver, winner of the prestigious F3 race back in 2000, hit the top of the timesheets near the end of the session, sneaking ahead of BMW star Duncan Huisman, who took victory in the race last year.

"It is a good way to start," said Couto. "Before qualifying I made some changes to the car and it performed better in the uphill section. But I was expecting BMW to get close because they are always quick around here."

Huisman's front row starting position was a welcome boost after a gearbox problem limited his running yesterday (Thursday).

"I am very happy," he said. "We had some problems yesterday but we managed to fix them before qualifying and the car was brilliant. I used old tyres at the start of qualifying and, after I switched to new tyres, the car felt perfect. I also got a good tow from my team-mate Jorg Muller which really helped."

Provisional pole-sitter Simon Harrison dropped to third in the final qualifying session, but the Honda driver was still happy with his performance.

"I am delighted," said the Briton. "I was surprised when I got the provisional pole position and I had hoped to keep it - but I think we are in a good shape for the race. The Honda is really consistent over a race distance, the Yokohama tyres and the engine are really good so we should be fine."

Andy Priaulx helped Britain annex the second row of the grid by taking fourth in his BMW, and was happy to talk up his prospects.

"We had no time to test before this weekend, so I am quite happy with qualifying. I can still win this race from fourth place on the grid."

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