Max Chilton will start tomorrow's 18th round of the 2009 Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series from the pole after setting a blistering pace around the Algarve circuit in Portugal this afternoon.

Chilton, whose Carlin Motorsport Dallara-Volkswagen was second fastest to the car of Renger van der Zande in the morning session, made sure of the pole this time with a 1 minute 37.538 seconds lap.

His Carlin team-mate, championship front-runner Daniel Ricciardo will start from P2 followed by a trio of invitational class drivers, namely Valtteri Bottas, Sam Bird and Jules Bianchi, in third through to fifth, and then Roberto Merhi in sixth.

"This morning's experience helped me," said Chilton, after taking his fourth pole of the season. "In the first session I hadn't expected the tyres to come in so quickly. This time I was ready for it though and my second flying lap was my best."

It was a disastrous session meanwhile for the Hitech Racing team, with round 17 pole man van der Zande left down in eighth place, and his team-mate Walter Grubmuller 14th.

"It's my worst result of the year," said a downcast Renger. "We just didn't have the pace this time and then we were caught out when there was a red flag late in the session."

Track action was interrupted with about five minutes left on the clock when Stephane Richelmi spun and stalled. His car had to be towed home. van der Zande was one of several drivers disadvantaged.

The leading National Class runner was once again T-Sport's Gabriel Dias, who was half a second ahead of Fortec man Daniel McKenzie. Both McKenzie and Daniel Ricciardo have the opportunity tomorrow to sew up their respective driver championship titles.