Another bright and sunny day in Sweden saw spectators flock to the Scandinavian Raceway, in Anderstorp, Sweden, for the seventh LG Super Racing Weekend of the year, which on Saturday, included both qualifying sessions for Sunday's seventh round of the 2003 FIA GT Championship.

The large contingent of fans on hand were able to see Walter Lechner Jr score his first FIA GT pole on just his second top-class outing for Franz Konrad's Saleen S7R team.

The Austrian born driver took his first pole position in the FIA GT Championship with an electrifying lap of 1:28.899secs around the 4.025 km circuit.

After starting the season in the N-GT category with RWS Yukos, Lechner moved to Konrad Motorsport for the previous round in Spa-Francorchamps, when he set the second-fastest qualifying time round the Belgian track. Despite not spending much time in the car this weekend, he was the only driver to go beneath the 1:29 barrier, and was 0.858 seconds faster than the second car, also a Saleen.

"I still don't know the limit of the car, and the tyres were not up to temperature, so I could have been two or three tenths faster," Walter said. "But the car is working well, and I am very happy with my first GT pole."

This is the third pole position of the year for Konrad Motorsport, Jean-Marc Gounon having claimed the front of the grid for the team in Pergusa and Brno.

It will be a Saleen front row on the grid for Sunday's race, with the No.7 Graham Nash Motorsport Saleen S7-R of Thomas Erdos and Mike Newton qualifying second with a time of 1:29.757secs. Behind the two Saleen cars, the next 10 GT cars set qualifying times within one second, promising an extremely close and interesting three-hour race on Sunday.

The Championship-leading BMS Scuderia Italia Ferrari 550 Maranello of Thomas Biagi and Matteo Bobbi was third fastest, followed by the two factory Lister Racing Storms, with the Andrea Piccini/David Sterckx example perhaps surprisingly leading the Jamie Campbell-Walter/Nathan Kinch Storm.

JC-W and his young co-driver consoled themselves by setting fastest time of all in the hotter, but slower afternoon session, and they were one of only five teams to set their best qualifying mark in the final session.

In N-GT it was the British EMKA team's turn to celebrate as the team's French Porsche expert Emmanuel Collard set the fastest time and will start from 18th position on the grid in the car he shares with team regular Tim Sugden.

The Frenchman, who won the race here last year in the Freisinger Motorsport Porsche, set a time of 1:33.083 in the morning session.

"Last year was very different as it was raining hard. But the car is going well, we have a good set-up for the race, and my teammate Tim Sugden is very quick, so I am confident for tomorrow. I think the outcome will depend on making no mistakes and having a good pit-stop."

Collard was eight tenths of a second ahead of the rest of the field in the morning, but Andrea Bertolini, in the No.52 JMB Racing Ferrari 360 Modena, closed to within a tenth of the No.61's time in the afternoon session, overtaking the lead Freisinger Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3-RS of Spa winners Stephane Ortelli and Marc Lieb.

The two Team Maranello Concessionaires cars were fourth and fifth fastest, with the Jamie Davie/Darren Turner entry just ahead of the Kelvin Burt/Tim Mullen car.

 

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