Kumho Tyres Australian F3 championship leader James Winslow padded his slim advantage over title rival Leanne Tander by taking pole position for the blue riband Country Club Tasmania Superprix at Symmons Plain.

The Briton claimed top spot for the season-ending - and potential title-deciding - race by timing his qualifying run just right in a rain-affected session that had just ten minutes of dry running before a massive downpour denied anyone the chance to overhaul him.

He also secured a vital point for being fastest in class for the first race of the double-header weekend, but had to cede pole position to TanderSport driver Mathew Radisich, who claimed a shock top spot with a well-timed run of his own in a four-year old car.

Persistent rain for the hour before qualifying one left the track sodden, but drying, and times dropped dramatically throughout the 20-minute session that set the grid for race one.

Radisich timed his run to the very end of the session and flew to the top of the table after the chequered flag had fallen. It was the first outright pole for a National Class competitor in Australian F3 history as Radisich trumped all of the F307-spec Dallaras.

"It's amazing, I can't believe it," a stunned Radisich admitted, "It was just timed perfectly to suit us and that's the result we got. I knew we would be fast if it rained and I had told the guys that this morning. It's all down to TanderSport because of their wet set-up."

Winslow was second and scored a bonus point for fastest in class, whilst Tander and Friday pacesetter Nathan Caratti again lined up just behind him. Despite the vastly changeable conditions, the top three were split by just 0.06secs and the top six by less than half a second.

Dry conditions were the order of the day for the start of qualifying two, and times dropped dramatically before a massive rainstorm hit the track ten minutes into the session. Fastest at the time, Winslow held onto pole position, with Tander second and Astuti Motorsport's Mat Sofi a career-best third.

"It's only two points, but every one counts and who knows if it will come in handy tomorrow," Winslow said, having moved three points clear of Tander with 42 on offer tomorrow, "We timed it perfectly today and the rain came at the right time for us in qualifying two. Our pace is good and it's obviously nice to be fastest for the SuperPrix tomorrow, but so much can happen in these races and there is a long way to go."

Reigning series champion Tim Macrow was the fastest National Class car, qualifying fifth overall, with Radisich was just spot behind.

Winslow's Team BRM team-mate Caratti qualified fourth for both races, whilst Irish driver Lee Farrell was the next best of the National class lot, behind Radisich in qualifying one, and Macrow in Q2.

Desparate to win both races tomorrow to try and snare the 'race within a race' title at the last minute, car problems hindered Farrell's efforts today with ECU dramas slowing him in the second session after reporting an excellent car earlier on.

South Aussie Jesse Wakeman topped the F3 trophy class today with a continually improving performance that has seen him take almost a full second out of his best time from 2007.


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