International Superstars Series rookie Alberto Cerqui scored his maiden pole position at Portimao for Team BMW Italia.

The 18-year-old beat Swiss Team Maserati Quattroporte driver Andrea Bertolini to the top spot in qualifying by 0.156 seconds.

“I’m really excited,” declared Cerqui afterwards. “I wasn’t expecting a pole position, although I started feeling like I was running really strong since practice.

“Apart from the Maserati, I was also concerned by my two team mates Thomas and Stefano, who proved extremely fast too. Here in Portugal we’re definitely going to be among the main stars on race day.”

The other two factory BMW M3s of Thomas Biagi and Stefano Gabellini ended up third and fourth, three tenths down on Cerqui and separated by just 17 thousandths of a second.

Johnny Herbert was the best of the Mercedes runners in fifth for Romeo Ferraris, just ahead of Caal Racing's Luigi Ferrara, the standings leader coming into this weekend. Herbert's teammates Max Pigoli and Michela Cerruti made it a lockout of the third and fourth rows for the three-pointed-star.

Francesco Sini and Fabrizio Armetta got the Ferltio Motors Jaguar XF and Motorzone Chevrolet Lumina both into the top ten.

Qualifying session results:

Pos. Driver Team Car Time Gap
1 Alberto Cerqui BMW Team Italia BMW M3 E92 1:51.174  
2 Andrea Bertolini Swiss Team Maserati Quattroporte 1:51.330 0.156
3 Thomas Biagi BMW Team Italia BMW M3 E92 1:51.519 0.345
4 Stefano Gabellini BMW Team Italia BMW M3 E92 1:51.536 0.362
5 Johnny Herbert Romeo Ferraris Mercedes AMG C63 1:51.755 0.581
6 Luigi Ferrara CAAL Racing Mercedes AMG C63 1:52.183 1.009
7 Max Pigoli Romeo Ferraris Mercedes AMG C63 1:52.430 1.256
8 Michela Cerruti Romeo Ferraris Mercedes AMG C63 1:52.513 1.339
9 Francesco Sini Ferlito Motors Jaguar XF 1:52.810 1.636
10 Fabrizio Armetta Motorzone Chevrolet Lumina CR-8 1:53.543 2.369
11 Riccardo Romagnoli CAAL Racing Mercedes AMG C63 1:53.727 2.553
12 Francesca Linossi Movisport BMW M3 E92 1:53.883 2.709
13 Andrea Chiesa Swiss Team Maserati Quattroporte 1:53.920 2.746
14 Andrea Dromedari Romeo Ferraris Mercedes AMG C63 1:54.042 2.868
15 Sergio Hernandez Campos Racing BMW M3 E92 1:54.099 2.925
16 Isaac Tutumlu Campos Racing BMW M3 E92 1:54.185 3.011
17 Alex De Giacomi Movisport BMW M3 E90 1:54.536 3.362
18 Sandro Bettini Movisport BMW M3 E90 1:54.700 3.526
19 Mauro Cesari MRT by Nocentini Chrysler 300 C SRT-8 1:54.784 3.610
20 Luigi Cecchi Ferlito Motors Jaguar XF 1:58.363 7.189
21 Alessandro Tambussi Movisport BMW 550i E60 2:05.896 14.722