Belgian Jeffrey van Hooydonk landed his first F3000 pole position after rain again played havoc with an Austrian qualifying session.

The Witmeur KTR driver headed an all-star cast at the front of the grid, with a combination of race winners and podium finishers queuing up behind him on the front two rows, as a torrential downpour left the circuit wet for both qualifying sessions.

David Saelens, perhaps the season's most consistent qualifier at present, ended the session in second spot, with Silverstone victor Mark Webber and double-winner Nicolas Minassian on row two but, despite their presence, the heavy rain made the session something of a lottery.

The European Arrows team shrugged off its trying week by putting both of its cars into the top six, while Brazilian Jaime Melo Jr outqualified esteemed team-mate Bruno Junqueira for the first time in taking fifth place. It was another disappointing qualifying for the championship leader, however, and he will start tomorrow's race from a lowly 20th on the grid.

To compound Junqueira's frustration, he will line up alongside the most inexperienced driver in the field, as new boy Tomas Scheckter put his Lola onto the 19th grid slot.

It was also a mixed day for the British contingent, with Darren Manning leading the way in a solid seventh overall, but both Kevin McGarrity and returnee Dino Morelli failing to make the cut. Honorary Brit Kristian Kolby's miserable mid-season continued with a fourth successive non-qualification, while best of the rest in championship terms, Fabrizio Gollin, also misses out.

A full report and times will follow shortly....

Leading qualifiers - F3000 - A1-Ring.

1. Jeffrey van Hooydonk Witmeur KTR 1min 33.336secs
2. David Saelens Super Nova 1min 33.529secs
3. Mark Webber European Arrows 1min 33.776secs
4. Nicolas Minassian Super Nova 1min 33.815secs
5. Jaime Melo Jr Petrobras Jr 1min 34.214secs
6. Christijan Albers European Arrows 1min 34.269secs
7. Darren Manning Arden Team Russia 1min 34.333secs
8. Franck Montagny DAMS 1min 34.604secs
9. Sebastien Bourdais Gauloises Jr 1min 34.771secs
10. Tomas Enge 1min 34.829secs



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