Martin Takes Portimao Pole for Beijing

Beijing Guoan driver John Martin has taken pole position for the first Superleague Formula race at Portimao. The Australian defeated RSC Anderlecht's Davide Rigon in the qualifying final to take his and Beijing's second pole position of the season. In doing so, Martin takes revenge on Rigon, having lost out to him in the final at the previous round, two weeks ago at Adria.

FC Basel's Max Wissel will start the first race in third position. He topped Group B and then beat Duncan Tappy of Flamengo in the quarter final, before losing out to Martin in the semis. Andy Soucek (Galatasary) will start alongside Wissel on the second row after defeating Robert Doornbos of Corinthians to reach the semi-final, where he lost to Rigon.

Doornbos will start fifth, ahead of Tottenham Hotspur's Craig Dolby, who had been knocked out by Martin in the quarter-final. Tappy will start seventh, sharing the fourth row with FC Porto driver Alvaro Parente, who was beaten by Rigon at the same stage.

The time that Wissel set to top Group B would not have been enough to get out of Group A, such was the competitiveness of that group, which was topped by Rigon, ahead of Martin, Soucek and Tappy. Losing out at the first hurdle were series newcomer Neel Jani of Olympiacos as well as Friday pacesetter Frederic Vervisch of Liverpool FC and AC Milan's Yelmer Buurman. The Dutchman, who currently sits second in the points, will have to start down in 13th place.

After the session, Martin said: “I couldn't let Davide have two pole positions in a row could I? I knew it would be a tough final against him as he was so quick yesterday, but I didn't make any mistakes and when I saw the time come up on the dashboard I was just praying it would be good enough. I'm really happy with pole because I'm not feeling too well today. It started yesterday and was worse this morning, but hopefully I'll feel a bit better for the race on Sunday.”