Alex Muller made it three in a row during qualifying for the Budapest City Challenge on Saturday at the Hungaroring, round five of the 2009 FIA GT Championship.

Muller, Karl Wendlinger and Enrique Bernoldi, who had all been fast in both free practice and pre-qualifying, traded fastest times in the qualifying session, with Muller finally emerging fastest, with a lap of 1 minute 41.815 seconds.

This was nearly two tenths faster than the pole time set by Jarek Janis in the Zakspeed Saleen, on the last FIA GT visit here in 2006.

This was Muller's third consecutive pole position, after Oschersleben and Spa, and the fourth pole position this season for Vitaphone Racing - a big change compared to 2008, when the team did not claim a single pole.

"We're pretty happy here with the car; the performance is good," Muller commented. "We worked very hard for a qualifying set-up because qualifying is nearly everything here because there aren't many chances to overtake. We worked for the qualifying and the other cars in our team worked for the race setup, so we're very confident for tomorrow because I think we have a strong and consistent car."

Muller will start alongside the #14 K plus K Motorsport Saleen S7, Karl Wendlinger having set a time of 1m 41.929s, one tenth slower of P1.

"Things are going very well. I think we've been competitive all weekend," the Austrian commented. "The car is fast, the car is consistent and Ryan is fast and competitive, so we're looking forward to the race.

"We've been fast on many different circuits this year, and I think we'll be fast here in Budapest too. I'm looking forward to the race."

Enrique Bernoldi placed the #8 Sangari Team Brazil Corvette Z06 third, on just his second appearance in the FIA GT Championship.

"I'm enjoying racing in FIA GT," said the ex-F1 driver. "Since the moment I stepped in at Spa, I've been competitive. We have two good drivers and I'm confident for tomorrow. I'm enjoying this a lot. My second FIA GT race and I'm on the second row again! If I can lead again, hopefully this time we can finish the race."

Behind them, Alex Pier Guidi placed the #33 Vitaphone Racing Team DHL Maserati fourth, ahead of Xavier Maassen in the #19 Luc Alphand Aventures Corvette Z06. Andrea Bertolini was sixth in the #1 Vitaphone Maserati, despite the 80 kg success ballast. He qualified just ahead of current Championship leader Mike Hezemans in the #4 Peka Racing Corvette, who is carrying 100 kg weight.

Meanwhile the GT2 class was just as close, with a battle during the session between Richard Westbrook's Porsche and the two AF Corse Ferrari cars, before Tim Mullen, in the CRS Racing Ferrari, moved up to third towards the end.

However, the #60 Prospeed Competition Porsche lost its times after post-qualifying scrutineering, when the engine failed to stop after the restrictors were blocked. It will therefore start from the back of the grid.

After Westbrook's times were cancelled, Alvaro Barba Lopez, in the #51 AF Corse Ferrari 430 GT2, inherited pole position, the best qualifying result yet for the young Spaniard in his first FIA GT season.

"It's fantastic to be here in qualifying. I think this weekend will be good for me and the team," he said.

With no success ballast and no crew handicap weight either, the #51 AF Corse car is a full 100 kg lighter than the #50 car, although only two tenths separated their times.

Mullen will start alongside the AF Corse Ferrari, having set a time of 1m 47.347s in the #55 CRS Racing Ferrari 430 GT2.

"I was pretty pleased, because we've had a few problems in the first and second practice," Tim commented. "The guys had to work really hard between sessions and again before qualifying to fix those problems, so thank you to them."

Gianmaria Bruni will be third on the GT2 grid, with a time of 1m 47.405s in the #50 AF Corse Ferrari, despite carrying a total of 100 kg success ballast and crew ballast combined.

"It was a very good qualifying session and I think I did a very good lap considering the weight we have," Bruni commented. "On our side it was the best we could do, and we have to hope for a clear race tomorrow. So it was good. We're back on track now after a very disappointing first race, but that's racing. It will be a very tough race."

Martin Ragginger will start from fourth in the Brixia Porsche, ahead of Paolo Ruberti in the #77 BMS Scuderia Italia Ferrari 430 GT2 and Matias Russo in the #95 Pecom Racing Team Ferrari 430 GT2.

The sole G2 car, the ARC Bratislava Saleen S7, qualified an excellent eleventh overall, Andrej Studenic at the wheel: "This result is very important for us: my goal was to get ahead of the GT2 cars. This is my first time in this car; I've only driven about 20 laps and I hope that tomorrow it's a little better," Studenic commented. He shares the Saleen S7 with Miroslav Konopka.


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