Johnny Herbert claimed the pole position in the inaugural Le Mans Endurance Series event, the Monza 1000 km. Herbert's lap of 1:38.461, set in the second qualifying session, claimed the pole for the the Veloqx-run #88 Audi R8.
The former F1 ace will share driving duties in Sunday's endurance event with Jamie Davies.
Herbert's time bested that set by Stefan Johansson in the highly impressive Zytek O4S prototype in the first session. The Zytek team, with veteran sportscar drivers Johansson, Andy Wallace and David Brabham, has run near the top of the timesheets in every session, and promises to threaten the expected Audi dominance in the race tomorrow.
Testing on Friday had gone well but I'm a little disappointed and frustrated to only be third fastest overall," McNish reflected after the second session. "The Audi felt really good, especially in the afternoon session, and if I'd managed a clear lap, without traffic, I'm positive we would have been on the front row, and possibly pole."
Nicolas Minassian confirmed the strength of the Zytek engines, claiming fourth place in a DBA-Zytek, just over a second off the pole time, and, more importantly, 0.038 seconds faster than the Team Goh Audi R8 piloted by Rinaldo "Dindo" Capello.
Paul Belmondo claimed the LMP2 pole in a Courage C65, with a time of 1:43.112. The time was 10th fastest overall, and just 4.5 seconds off Herbert's mark.
#59 Vitaphone Saleen (Berte, Alzen and Konrad) took the GTS class pole, while the #85 Freisinger Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3 RSR piloted by Stefane Ortelli took the top spot for the GT class.
The Le Mans Endurance series, new for 2004, is sanctioned by the Automobile Club d'Ouest (ACO). It complements the Le Mans 24H event and the IMSA-run American Le Mans Series.