Max Pigoli - Photo Credit: Superstars Series

Pigoli claimed pole position on his return to the wheel of a Jaguar - Photo Credit: Superstars Series

Max Pigoli has put his Jaguar XF on pole position for the opening round of the International Superstars Series season at Monza.

The veteran Italian had been on pole at the legendary circuit 12 months ago in a Mercedes, but for this season has returned to the brand that he carried to the Superstars title back in 2006.

Driving for the Ferlito Motors team, he moved into P1 as the 30 minute session moved into its second half. He remained there until the checkered flag, finishing up more than two tenths clear of anyone else.

Second place saw a three-way battle between 2010 champion Thomas Biagi (BMW) and debutants Andrea Larini (Mercedes) and Mika Salo (Maserati). Larini took the place from Salo with ten minutes remaining, with Biagi holding the place with five minutes remaining.

Larini, the younger brother of former F1 and WTCC racer Nicola, soon regained the place and then improved at the end to put him more than three tenths clear of Biagi. Salo, who has replaced series champion Andrea Bertolini at Swiss Team, finished up just 0.007s behind Biagi.

Biagi's Dinamic teammate Stefano Gabellini overcame the flu to finish up fifth, just seventh thousandths ahead of Formula Renault champion Andrea Boffo and his Mercedes. Boffo's Roma Racing Team owner Nico Caldarola was next up in seventh, ahead of the second Jaguar of another debutant Gian Maria Gabbiani.

After setting the pace in practice, Chevrolet Lumina driver Francesco Sini could only manage ninth on the grid, a second and a half away from pole. Max Mugelli rounded out the top ten in his first Superstars Series qualifying session in his CAAL Racing Mercedes.

Mugelli's more illustrious teammate Vitantonio Liuzzi failed to set a time after being halted by a puncture on his out lap and will have to make his Superstars debut from the back of the grid.

German youngster Thomas Schoffler was the best of the three brand new Audi RS5s. Gianni Morbidelli failed to get out due to a wiring issue, while Johan Kristofferson was forced back to the pits with an issue early on, though the Swede did get back on track in time to claim 14th place.

Click for results