John Martin scored his second Superleague Formula pole position of the season at the Autodromo do Algarve in Portugal for Beijing Guoan.
In a closely matched final of the soccer club-based series' head-to-head knockout qualifying system, Martin was only fractionally ahead of Davide Rigon (Anderlecht) at the first two splits, but an emphatic final sector gave him pole by 0.185sec.
Rigon laid waste to Andy Soucek (Galatasaray) in the first semi-final, outpacing the Spaniard by 2.5sec after Soucek ran wide at the first corner.
Martin won an entertaining duel with Max Wissel (Basel) in the second semi: Wissel was fastest through the first sector by six hundredths of a second, but Martin turned it around in the other two sectors, winning through by 0.225sec.
In the quarter-finals, Rigon thrashed Alvaro Parente (Porto) by over a second; Soucek beat Robert Doornbos (Corinthians) by 0.618sec; Martin defeated ADR stablemate Craig Dolby (Tottenham Hotspur) by 0.726sec and Wissel outpaced Duncan Tappy (Flamengo) by 0.656sec.
Yelmer Buurman was a shock non-qualifier from the group stages, the AC Milan driver – second in the points table – only seventh fastest in the first session, which was topped by Rigon, Martin, Soucek and Tappy.
As well as Buurman, those to go out at the first hurdle were series debutant Neel Jani (Olympiacos), Frederic Vervisch (Liverpool), Hywel Lloyd (PSV Eindhoven) and Tristan Gommendy (Lyon).
In Group B, Wissel set the fastest time - which would not have even got him through the first session - ahead of Doornbos, Dolby and Parente. Knocked out here were Marcos Martinez (Sevilla), newcomer Maximo Cortes (Sporting Lisbon), a troubled Julien Jousse (Roma), Maria de Villota (Atletico Madrid) and Celso Miguez (Bordeaux).
Pos Driver Team Time
1. John Martin Beijing Guoan 1m33.149s
2. Davide Rigon RSC Anderlecht 1m33.334s
3. Max Wissel FC Basel 1m33.784s
4. Andy Soucek Galatasaray 1m35.763s
5. Robert Doornbos Corinthians 1m34.335s
6. Craig Dolby Tottenham Hotspur 1m33.893s
7. Duncan Tappy Flamengo 1m34.197s
8. Alvaro Parente FC Porto 1m34.236s
9. Neel Jani Olympiacos 1m33.472s
10. Marcos Martinez Sevilla FC 1m34.375s
11. Frederic Vervisch Liverpool FC 1m33.550s
12. Maxi Cortes Sporting 1m34.461s
13. Yelmer Buurman AC Milan 1m33.684s
14. Julien Jousse AS Roma 1m34.790s
15. Hywel Lloyd PSV Eindhoven 1m33.831s
16. Maria de Villota Atletico de Madrid 1m35.260s
17. Tristan Gommendy Olympique Lyonnais 1m34.043s
18. Celso Miguez Girondins 1m35.722s