Defying ever-changing weather conditions, Junior Strous scored his first career pole position in the Atlantic Championship to start Sunday's Sommet des Legendes at Circuit Mont-Tremblant from the inside of the front row.

The Dutchman posted a best lap of 1min 28.805secs in the #6 Condor Motorsports/Team Holland car in the first of the day's two qualifying sessions, after light rain momentarily slowing the pace in the 45-minute session. The surface was drying by the time Strous, and a few others, clocked their quick times and, when the second session was run almost entirely in steady rain, nobody could get close to their times.

The pole position adds more momentum for Strous and the Condor Motorsports/Team Holland programme following last month's maiden podium at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and team-mate Dominick Muermans' fifth place. Pole also earned Strous a bonus championship point, which moves him to within just two markers of championship leader James Hinchcliffe.

"I'm really happy with my first pole," Strous said, "I worked really hard for it, as the first qualifying session was so hectic because we had the threat of rain. We were out kind of late and, when it started raining, we were panicking a bit, because I was fourth at the time. Luckily, the track dried up and we could come back.

"In the second qualifying session, I took it easy as I didn't want to have any damage, but the car is good in the rain and I'm looking forward to the race tomorrow. I'm happy with the way it's going. I'm up there in the points, so it's going well. I want to get some good points here and maybe win the race. We'll see - but I want to get the lead in the championship."

Starting second by virtue of being the fastest qualifier in the wet final session will be local favourite Kevin Lacroix, who automatically assumed the spot in the #25 Walker Racing entry. The Quebec native posted a best time in the second session at 1min 43.313secs to lead by more than a second over Canadian rookie Daniel Morad.

Lacroix has been among the quicker drivers throughout the 2008 Atlantic season and already owns one podium result following a third-place run in the season-opening Imperial Capital Bank Atlantic Challenge of Long Beach.

"Today was pretty tricky," he said, "There was a lot of standing water and I was going sideways some. Overall, it was good though, as I know that I like these conditions. I've always been fast in the wet, and it's all about confidence and control. The car was great too - it's very tough to get a good wet set-up, but we got it right on."

Finnish rookie Markus Niemela claimed a career-best third for Brooks Associates Racing and will be looking to improve upon his best Atlantic result of fourth, which came at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca last month.

"I think third position is good to start," Niemela said, "Of course, it would have been better to start on the front row, but third is all right. It's definitely not bad. It's my first top-three start this year, so I think anything is possible, but let's see what happens tomorrow. Who knows what the weather is going to be like tomorrow?"

Despite crashing near the end of the second qualifying session, Carl Skerlong will start fourth in the #14 Pacific Coast Motorsports entry, while championship leader Hinchcliffe starts one spot behind the American.

Niemela's BAR team-mate Andreas Wirth qualified sixth, followed by rookie of the year leader Jonathan Summerton, Dane Cameron, Muermans and David Garza.