Esteban Guerrieri has claimed pole position for Olympiacos in qualifying for round five of the Superleague Formula at Monza this afternoon.
The Argentine, a victor with the Greek side at Estoril and also in the colours of Al-Ain at Zolder this season, enjoyed a pressure free run in the pole shootout. A head-to-head with four-time Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais had promised much following the Frenchman's fastest time in the semis, but Bourdais immediately scuppered his chance of pole by heavily locking his front-left wheel and overshooting the first chicane.
"Sebastien's lock-up took him out of contention, but I didn't understand from my engineer on the radio exactly what had happened," said Guerrieri. "I could only make out 'slow down' so I just made sure that I completed the lap. Things have been going well since I joined the team, but we will have to watch out for tyre degradation in the races tomorrow."
Guerrieri's road to pole included a tense semi-final with the similar GU Racing run car of FC Basel's Max Wissel. The pair were separated by only a few hundredths of a second over the opening part of the lap, before the German teenager lost a slender advantage through a small error at the Ascari chicane. Guerrieri ended the lap with a time of 1m36.786s, two tenths up on his stable-mate, but Wissel secures third on the grid for tomorrow's race one.
Formula 2 driver Julien Jousse, making his debut with AS Roma in place of Franck Perera, was Guerrieri's victim in the fourth quarter final. Guerrieri set the fastest quarter final time of all, a 1m36.818s, to eclipse Jousse's 1m37.537s.
Before being caught out by his brake balance in the pole shootout, Bourdais had been in fine form. The former Toro Rosso Formula 1 driver scored a convincing victory over AC Milan's Giorgio Pantano in their semi final. The Italian lost two tenths to the Seville driver in each of the opening two sectors and was unable to recover the deficit. Fourth on the grid, however, is still Pantano's strongest qualifying result of the season.