Audi Sport North America's Dindo Capello made Mosport International Raceway the fastest circuit in the American Le Mans Series with a stunning lap of 1min 04.094secs in qualifying for the Mobil 1 Grand Prix.

The Italian veteran smashed his own previous track record by 1.735secs, but was one of ten cars to go under last year's pole time as Audi swept the front row with its two diesel-powered Audi R10 TDIs. Team-mate Marco Werner was just 0.094secs behind as the German marque asserted itself for the first time on the weekend.

"It looks like I have a special feeling with this race track," said Capello, who has won three times in five career Mosport starts and now has three pole positions at the Canadian venue, "Canada always seem to bring me good luck. When Audi wanted to bring me back and said I could race again at Mosport, I was very happy. It was nice to be back and show that we are still quite good."

The top five cars qualified within 0.525secs of each other, with Penske Racing's Romain Dumas third overall, and first in LMP2, at 1min 04.318secs, also a class record.

The previous fastest speed recorded in series history came two weeks ago when Audi's Lucas Luhr averaged 136.277mph in qualifying at Road America. On Saturday, however, the top five drivers at Mosport recorded average speeds quicker than that - although not all felt that it was a good thing.

"You really feel like you are on the edge here," Capello said, "It is very difficult to say to a driver and engineer that a car should be slower. A 1min 04secs means we aren't just fast on the straight, but also in the corners. If something were to happen, it can be very big. At some tracks, safety hasn't changed over the years, but the cars have. But I am not talking about Mosport. In Europe, we really miss this kind of elevation change and the fast corners. We drivers are crazy, but not too crazy that we don't think about safety."

Penske team-mates Dumas and Timo Bernhard are the defending race winners at Mosport, and the Frenchman looked like he had the overall pole wrapped up late in the session before Capello and Werner threw down their laps. However, Dumas maintained that the first order of business was to take the class pole as doing so would put himself and Bernhard in the best position to extend their P2 championship advantage over Patr?n Highcroft Racing's David Brabham and Scott Sharp.

"It was a great qualifying session, for sure," said Dumas, who won his 16th series pole, "It's very, very, very quick year after year - I improved nearly 1.7secs and we push the limit all the time. Again, the class is important and I'm very happy that we are at the head of P2."

Dumas was 0.285secs better than Brabham's Acura ARX-01b. The Porsche duo have a 24-point lead over Brabham and Sharp with four rounds remaining, and have four wins compared to the three of their rivals.

The battle isn't just limited to the fastest two cars, however, as Franck Montagny put Andretti Green Racing's Acura third on the P2 grid, and fifth overall, at 1min 04.619secs.

"In the last few races, it has been a very big battle with many teams," said Dumas, who has been driving the RS Spyder with a new direct fuel injection engine since Mid-Ohio in July. "We have a lot of cars to watch for, but it's good to be at the front, especially with a quick car. We had a chance to test here earlier this week and we found a very good set-up. It's all the time a big battle to improve in every area."

Corvette Racing's Johnny O'Connell scored his second GT1 pole position in three races, and his first at Mosport. His time of 1min 13.878secs outpaced team-mate Olivier Beretta by the slimmest of margins - just 0.069secs - but it was a remarkable achievement for Beretta and Oliver Gavin's crew to be so close as the team had to replace many of the front parts of the Corvette after Gavin went off hard at turn two in morning practice.

"I'll be the first to admit that I'm a pretty crappy qualifier, so I'm pretty stoked," O'Connell admitted, "Olivier is so good and anytime you outperform him is a good thing. The bigger story to me is how hard the guys on the #4 car worked to get that car ready to go this afternoon. I didn't think it would be that close."

O'Connell is a five-time winner at Mosport, and won in class last year's C6.R with Jan Magnussen, nine years after they teamed for an overall victory in a factory Panoz prototype. With just two pole positions entering the season, O'Connell has now doubled his total this season, and he and Magnussen enter Mosport with a 23-point championship lead.

"It's a lot of fun here, this is a magical racetrack," O'Connell said, "I think there are a lot of tracks that all the guys like coming to, and this is one of them. You have a lot of moments here. We brush our brakes nearly all the way around except for turn five. The rest are at 20 per cent because you want to maintain your momentum."

Terry Borcheller qualified third in class for Bell Motorsports, with a lap of 1min 15.611secs in the team's Aston Martin DBR9.

Risi Competizione's Jaime Melo earned his second straight GT2 pole at Mosport, and his second of the season in the Ferrari F430 GT that he will drive with Mika Salo. The Brazilian driver turned in a lap of 1min 16.863secs to smash his record time from last season by 1.676secs.

"We've been working so hard to improve the lap times from last year," said Melo, who captured his eleventh career series pole, "Earlier this week, we tested and improved, especially in the high-speed corners, so I'm happy with everything. The tyres and car worked well together. I didn't do a perfect lap time - I made a mistake at turn three and lost maybe a tenth or more - but it was enough for pole."

Melo outpaced Farnbacher Loles Racing's Dirk Werner and his Porsche 911 GT3 RSR by 0.19secs. Werner, part of the class-winning trio at Road America two weeks ago, is teaming with new team-mate Pierre Kaffer at Mosport.

Dominik Farnbacher qualified Tafel Racing's Ferrari third at 1min 17.232secs as the top six cars in class all went under Melo's time from last season. Speed hasn't been an issue for the Risi duo this year, but Melo and Salo are still looking for their first victory in the 2008 season after winning eight times last year and taking the class championship.

"For the race, the car should be good and consistent, so we will see how things go," said Melo, who won at Le Mans this year with Salo and Gianmaria Bruni, "We were on pole at Mid-Ohio and we're still showing that we have the potential to finish on top here."


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