FIA GT1 World Championship favorites Lucas Luhr and Michael Krumm claimed their first pole position of the season at San Luis, Argentina, to greatly increase their chances of securing the drivers' crown in this afternoon's qualifying race.
The 3.9-mile San Luis circuit, built around a lake in a volcanic crater, received a coating of dust and sand from overnight winds. Luhr counted himself fortunate to survive a high-speed slide on the slippery surface on way to pole.
"I was pushing too hard," said Luhr. "The back end came out and really got my attention. I am not a morning person, but that moment really gave me a wake-up call."
The JRM Nissan duo were buoyed by news this morning that their closest threat in the points race, the Stefan Mucke and Darren Turner Young Driver Aston Martin, would not start either of this weekend's races following a heavy practice accident.
"Other people's problems do not really change our approach," said Krumm. "The safest way to win the championship is to try and win the race."
The impressive GT1 rookie combination of Dutchmen Francesco Pastorelli and Yelmer Burman offered the greatest threat to Luhr and Krumm in qualifying. Pastorelli has been underemployed as a racing driver in recent seasons, and earns a living as a mechanic for the Mad and Daring team's Corvette in the Dutch Supercar series.
Despite having competed in only race since 2009, Pastorelli executed a fine lap of 2m14.604s to earn a place on the front row for this afternoon's qualifying race.
Pastorelli's team-mate Yelmer Buurman confirmed the competitiveness of the Exim Corvette by recording the fastest time in Q2 of this morning's split qualifying session.
"We're just here for the win, and to get a result," said Buurman. "Francesco did an amazing job considering how little racing he has done recently."
Also making his first visit the Potrero de los Fines circuit, sports car stalwart David Brabham took third in the Sumo Power Nissan-GT-R he shares with Jamie Campbell-Walter.
"The circuit is an absolute pleasure to drive on," said Brabham. "It reminds me of a mix between the Bathurst 1000 and Le Mans. We're happy with P3 as a good place to start the weekend."
Richard Westbrook qualified the second JR Motorsports Nissan GT-R in fourth. The Briton was less than a tenth faster than Dominik Schwager's All-Inkl Lamborghini Murcielago.
Christian Hohenadel's Hexis Aston Martin completed the top six. Sumo's Enrique Bernoldi brought up the rear of the Nissan assault in seventh, 0.011s ahead of the final Q3 runner, Clivio Piccione (Hexis).
Fastest on Friday morning, Christopher Haase's challenge in the DKR Lamborghini ended after he clipped a wall at Turn 21 in Q2.