Three-time Porsche Supercup champion Rene Rast started his first season as a full-time Audi driver by claiming pole position at the opening round of the new FIA GT Series at Nogaro.
WRT driver Rast headed the timesheets by just one hundredth of a second with a time of 1m26.091 aboard the Pro-Am Cup class Audi R8 LMS ultra he shares with Nikolas Mayr-Melnhof.
The German edged out local driver Mike Parisy in the best of the Sebastien Loeb Racing McLaren MP4-12Cs in the Super Pole session, during which the fastest 10 cars from the first two qualifying sessions each have two flying laps to set a time.
Rast, who has become one of Audi's pool of GT drivers for this season, said: "I'm very happy because the conditions were difficult. The first session was wet, it was drying for the second session and then it was completely dry. It looks like it is going to be very close between all the cars, especially the Audi and the McLaren."
Parisy, who shared his McLaren with Andreas Zuber, was a tenth quicker than team-mate Alvaro Parente, who is paired with team owner Sebastien Loeb.
The two Pro Cup WRT entries, which like all the Audis are running in 2012 specification for homologation reasons, ended up fourth and fifth in the hands of Frank Stippler and Stephane Ortelli.
Cesar Campanico made it four Audis in the top six at the wheel of his Novadriver R8.
The make-up of the Super Pole session is decided by the aggregate times set by the two drivers in each car from Qualifying 1 and 2.
The two one-hour races that make up the opening round of the FIA GT Series, which has superseded the FIA GT1 World Championship, take place on tomorrow (Sunday) and on Monday.