Nicky Pastorelli put V8 Racing on pole for the 24 Hours of Dubai. (Photo: John Dagys)

Nicky Pastorelli put V8 Racing on pole for the . (Photo: John Dagys)

V8 Racing will start Friday’s Dunlop 24 Hours of Dubai from the top spot after claiming a surprise pole today at the Dubai Autodrome.

Nicky Pastorelli took the former factory Corvette C6.R GT1 car to a new qualifying lap record of 1:57.282, outpacing two-time and defending race winner Jeroen Bleekemolen by 0.163 seconds.

Pastorelli’s time was nearly two seconds quicker than Team Abu Dhabi by Black Falcon’s pole-winning lap from last year.

“It was a really good lap,” Pastorelli said. I didn’t know what to expect in qualifying because I only did two laps in practice. The car handled really great and we were on track just at the right moment with no traffic. The temperature was right and of course I did a good lap.”

The Dutch driver will share the wheel of the No. 21 Corvette with countrymen Wolf Nathan, Danny Werkman, Rick Abresch and Alex van ‘t Hoff.

Bleekemolen and co-drivers Bernd Schneider, Khaled Al Qubaisi and Andreas Simonsen will roll off second on the grid, ahead of the No. 4 Fach Auto Tech Porsche 997 GT3 R, qualified by Martin Ragginger in third.

The No. 2 Black Falcon Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 was fourth, which was also qualified by Bleekemolen, ahead of the No. 76 SX Team Schubert BMW Z4 GT3, which features BMW factory drivers Dirk Werner, Bill Auberlen and Turner Motorsport drivers Paul Dalla Lana and Dane Cameron this week.

Ram Racing was the highest-placed Ferrari in sixth, with Jan Magnussen taking the chrome-liveried Prancing Horse to a best lap of 1:58.402. The 2013 ALMS GT champion will share the car with ELMS GTE champions Matt Griffin and Johnny Mowlem and Cheerag Arya.

The top-eight were completed by the two Craft-AMR Aston Martin Vantage GT3, which also showed pace in practice earlier today.

With a fire by the No. 144 GC Automobile BMW silhouette car and a chassis-bending accident for the No. 15 AF Racing International Lamborghini in practice, it’s now expected that 79 cars will take tomorrow’s start.

The Dunlop 24 Hours of Dubai gets underway Friday at 2 p.m. local (5 a.m. ET) with video coverage available here.

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