Apr 6, 2002
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Copyright 2002, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.<BR><BR>Whitham and Chambon battle for pole<BR><BR>By Glenn LeSanto<BR><BR>Diminutive Frenchman Stephane Chambon stole pole position from James Whitham with a magnificent last lap in the dying seconds of the Supersport final qualifying session.<BR><BR>Whitham sat in his pit box after lapping the Kyalami circuit at 1:46.295, which was at the time a new outright fastest World Supersport lap at the track, probably thinking that he had pole wrapped up. But Chambon had other ideas and despite not being 100% happy with his bike went out and lapped even faster at 1:46.146 to claim pole for Suzuki.<BR><BR>The previous best qualifying lap of 1:47.293 was set by Ruben Xaus when the Supersport championship last raced here in 1999. Iain MacPherson holds the race lap record of 1:48.383 also from 1999 when he won the race. That record is unlikely to stand after Sunday's race.<BR><BR>Reigning champion and winner of the previous race in Phillip Island, Andrew Pitt was third fastest at 1:46.414. Christian Kellner, who had spent much of the session in provisional pole slipped to fourth on the grid as the times tumbled.<BR><BR>Dunlop riders dominate the front row, and the next three riders on the grid--Fujiwara, Casoli and Teuchert--are also riding on Dunlop tires. The first man on Pirellis is Australia's Chris Vermeulen who lapped at 1:46.913 and took the final second-row position in eighth.<BR><BR>Despite not faring well in qualifying Pirelli engineers remain upbeat for the race as their riders were as fast as the Dunlop guys on race tires during qualifying. But with seven Dunlop riders in the first seven places on the grid the riders that are using Pirellis will have their work cut out at the start of Sunday's race.<BR><BR>World Supersport Championship<BR>Final Qualifying<BR>Kyalami, 6 April 2002<BR><BR>Best lap times:<BR><BR>1 S Chambon FRA Suzuki 1:46.146<BR>2 J Whitham GBR Yamaha 1:46.295<BR>3 A Pitt AUS Kawasaki 1:46.414<BR>4 C Kellner GER Yamaha 1:46.471<BR>5 K Fujiwara JPN Suzuki 1:46.780<BR>6 P Casoli ITA Yamaha 1:46.860<BR>7 J Teuchert GER Yamaha 1:46.866<BR>8 C Vermeulen AUS Honda 1:46.913<BR>9 A Corradi ITA Yamaha 1:47.025<BR>10 F Foret FRA Honda 1:47.093<BR><BR>