Robbie Kerr has sensationally snatched pole position for his home A1GP sprint race at Brands Hatch, ahead of latest series winner Jonathan Summerton in the 'We The People' entry and champion-elect Neel Jani in the Swiss machine.

Whilst Jani and Irishman Adam Carroll looked happily relaxed ahead of qualifying, Great Britain's Kerr was deeper in concentration as he drove the perfect pole position lap in his mind - and it was a method of preparation that would clearly pay off.

Adam Khan was the first driver to take to the track in Q1, though a lock-up at Surtees would compromise the Pakistani's lap. Narain Karthikeyan was next and was quick with it, despite a couple of twitches, but with three-and-a-half minutes to go as many as 18 nations had still to set a lap time.

With just shy of two minutes remaining, the big-hitters finally showed their faces, with Kerr taking to the track on old tyres. Carroll was showing strong pace in the Irish entry, as he dipped below Karthikeyan's effort, but a ragged end to the lap saw the Ulsterman ultimately come up three tenths short.

Jeroen Bleekemolen moved up to third in the closing stages and Franck Montagny a more encouraging fifth, then Jani blew them all out of the water as a message of intent saw the Swiss ace leap to the top of the timesheets, just over a tenth clear of Kerr in second - the British ace, lest we forget, running on used rubber...

Karthikeyan wound up third, ahead of Filipe Albuquerque (Portugal), Summerton (USA), Carroll, Bleekemolen, Filip Salaquarda (Czech Republic), Adrian Zaugg (South Africa) and Michael Ammermuller (Germany), with Jonny Reid in the New Zealand machine - the only man who can prevent Jani and Switzerland from lifting the laurels this weekend - all the way down in 13th, and morning star CongFu Cheng a surprisingly lowly 17th.

In Q2 Karthikeyan was first out on the circuit, with seven minutes left to run, but a lap three tenths adrift of Jani's effort in Q1 did not bode well for the former F1 star's hopes of retaining his provisional second row grid slot.

John Martin moved significantly up the order into eighth position in the Australian entry, before with two minutes to go there was a huge flurry of cars leaving the pit-lane. An opening split quicker than anyone else in the session for Jani doubtless sent shudders down the spines of his rivals, but the end result was actually slower than the Swiss star had been in Q1, leaving the way clear to Kerr, who did not disappoint.

A whole host of late improvements saw Montagny briefly move up to fifth, Carroll immediately displace the Frenchman to go third and Ammermuller go eighth, but the fireworks came from Kerr, who pipped Jani to the top spot with a supreme final effort to leap to the head of the timesheets. The 28-year-old was almost deposed himself by a stunning last-ditch lap from Summerton, but to the home supporters' relief the Floridian fell a scant two thousandths of a second short, nevertheless pushing Jani down to the second row of the grid.

The Swiss ace was eventually joined there by Carroll, with the impressive Albuquerque, Zaugg, Karthikeyan, Montagny, Ammermuller and Reid completing the top ten, the latter having all-but kissed New Zealand's slim remaining championship hopes a final goodbye.

To see the sprint race qualifying times in full, click here

 

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