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August 30, 2009

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Fisichella stuns with first Force India pole

GIANCARLO Fisichella gave Force India an astonishing first pole position while Formula One championship leader Jenson Button qualified only 14th for the Belgian Grand Prix yesterday.
The Force India team has yet to score a point in 29 races while the 36-year-old Roman last started on pole with Renault in Malaysia in 2006.
"It's amazing. It's fantastic. I'm so happy about that ... I didn't expect that result," said the Italian, who side-stepped a suggestion that his car might be fuelled lighter than those behind him.
"This is one of my favorite circuits. But I didn't expect to be on pole. We made a big step forward from the last race," he added of his fourth career pole.
The Italian produced a quickest lap of 1 minute, 46.308 seconds around the high-speed 7.004-kilometer Spa-Francorchamps circuit.
Toyota's Jarno Trulli made it the first all-Italian front row since Australia in 2005 with Germany's Nick Heidfeld third for struggling BMW-Sauber.
Brawn's Button of Britain failed to make it into the top 10 for the first time this season and will have a fight on his hands to come away with any points today.
Brawn GP teammate and closest title rival Rubens Barrichello of Brazil, who is 18 points adrift with six races remaining after winning the previous race in Valencia last weekend, qualified fourth.
Red Bull's Mark Webber of Australia and Germany's Sebastian Vettel, third and fourth in the standings, respectively, filled the ninth and eighth places on the grid.
Italian Luca Badoer's days as stand-in for injured Ferrari driver Felipe Massa looked numbered when the 38-year-old spun into the gravel and qualified last for the second race in a row. Teammate Kimi Raikkonen of Finland starts sixth for today's 44-lap race.
Fisichella has already made clear that he would love to take Badoer's place.
"It's a dream for a driver in Formula One to drive for Ferrari, especially for an Italian driver like me ... but I'm just concentrating on Force India and the race tomorrow," he told a news conference.
"For sure my result is something incredible. It's a great day, but I want to do the best and just concentrate on the race tomorrow."
While Force India was the quickest of the Mercedes-powered teams, McLaren endured a nightmare afternoon at a circuit that has favored the team heavily in the past. World champion Lewis Hamilton of Britain qualified 12th with Finnish teammate Heikki Kovalainen 15th.


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