Montoya takes third pole of season

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Updated: February 25, 2007 08:37 IST
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Juan Pablo Montoya will start Sunday's Italian Grand Prix in pole position. The Colombian set a record average speed of nearly 254 km per hour at the Monza circuit during Saturday's final qualifying session. Joining Montoya at the front will be Brazilian Rubens Barrichello with the Schumacher brothers occupying the second row. In the run-up to the final qualification, Montoya looked determined to wreck the party for the home crowd favourites. The Colombian had signalled his intent early in Saturday's session, posting a time of 1 minute 22.715 seconds to overhaul Ralf Schumacher's mark. Then big brother roared back to defend family and Ferrari honour -- Michael setting a new best of 1 minute 22.685 seconds. Montoya recorded a new Monza record average speed of 253.658 km per hour on the way to posting a time of 1 minute 22.216 seconds. "The car was really good. We work a lot this morning, trying to make it better and better. We knew in the morning that we were not going to be that competitive because it was very cold. As the temperature came up, we became stronger and stronger," said Montoya. Rubens Barrichello was to provide the closest challenge and Ferrari's top performer of the day. The Brazilian lapped in a best of 1:22.528. Michael Schumacher improved to clinch third -- one place better than his brother - with a 1:22.624 effort. The session was halted four minutes from its scheduled end point when Mika Hakkinen swerved hard into the barriers. His car was badly damaged. The force of the impact left debris strewn on the track. Thankfully, Hakkinen was unhurt. He did manage to secure the seventh fastest time -- one behind teammate David Coulthard.

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