Max Wissel took pole for FC Basel at the first Superleague meeting of the weekend, knocking out Sebastian Bourdais, home favourite Craig Dolby and Virgin F1 refugee Alvaro Parente on the way.
The German driver, who finished third in the standings last year, narrowly emerged from the group stages of qualifying but was confident in the Silverstone rain during the head-to-head elimination rounds.
He said: “When the rain started before the knock-out stages there wasn’t much time for me to adjust to the track, but the team did a great job to switch the car on to a good wet set-up.
“We finished third in the league table last season and we want to go for the title this time, so pole position is the perfect way to start the new season.”
By contrast, Bourdais was fastest in the group stages but will start eighth after being knocked out by Wissel at the first possible opportunity in the second stage of the football-themed qualifying process.
Behind Wissel and Alvaro Parente – who joined FC Porto in Superleague after losing his role as Virgin F1 test and reserve driver due to sponsorship woes – are the British pairing of James Walker for Liverpool and Dolby for Spurs.
Fifth is the field’s third Brit, Duncan Tappy, who is racing for Brazilian club Flamengo.
Saturday driver quotes
James Walker (Liverpool): “I was praying for it not to rain as we were so strong in the dry and I think we’ll continue to get quicker and quicker. We were a bit lucky to make it past Sevilla in the quarter final as I think both Marcos and I made a couple of mistakes where the new sections of the track were so slippery. I’m happy with third and I think we have a great chance to go for the win tomorrow.”
Craig Dolby (Tottenham): “I was praying for it to rain because I’ve never done a lap of this circuit in the dry before. To be on the second row is very pleasing because qualifying wasn’t my strong point last year and it will be nice to have just three cars in front of me instead of ten. We know where our weaknesses are and we’ll work on those tonight and be back tomorrow to go for the win.”
Duncan Tappy (Flamengo): “That was great – being back in a car for starters was mega and what I’d worked all winter to achieve. Once I got over that moment ‘I’m back, this is great’, it was a case of getting on with business. I had a disappointing day yesterday and didn’t do many laps. But we said that if we made the quarter finals we’d be over the moon and we did that with quite a gap so I was really happy.”
The races will be streamed live on the Superleague website, with the first at 11am, the second at 2pm and the six-car super final at 3pm.