Series debutant Jose Maria Lopez claimed a home pole position for the GT1 World Championship finale at San Luis, while Andrea Bertolini and Michael Bartels edged closer to the inaugural series title as they qualified third – 14 places ahead of rivals Tomas Enge and Darren Turner.
Lopez, who was placed with the Young Driver AMR Aston Martin team by the series organizer in the week leading up to the event, headed the time sheets on a 2m14.406sec in the final segment of qualifying. The 27-year-old set the time, which was three tenths clear of his nearest rival, after spinning on his first flying lap.
"I had the feeling I was on a good lap and then I lost the rear of the car," said Lopez, whose teammate Stefan Mucke will start the qualifying race from pole. "The second lap was tough, because I knew I had to deliver. It was a good feeling when I saw I was P1."
Hexis driver Frederic Makowiecki enjoyed his best qualifying session of the season to make it an Aston Martin one-two. His teammate Yann Clairay will line up alongside Mucke on the front row for tomorrow morning's qualifying race.
Points leaders Bertolini and Bartels ended up third in the times aboard the lead Vitaphone Maserati. Bertolini just edged out Frank Kechele in the best of the Reiter Lamborghinis at the end of the session.
The championship hopes of Young Driver Aston's Turner and Enge, who lie second in the points, took a blow when Turner was eliminated in the first round of qualifying, citing the success ballast from their win in Brazil last week. The result means Enge will start the qualifying race from 17th place on the grid.