Frenchman Tristan Gommendy, last year's Macau Formula Three champion, has picked James Courtney to win the showpiece race at the Golden Jubilee Grand Prix on Sunday. And the Australian lived up to that billing when he stormed to provisional pole position after the first qualifying round on the tight and dusty Guia circuit yesterday. Sydneysider Courtney, 23, set the fastest time on his penultimate lap, recording two minutes and 13.232 seconds in his Toyota-Tom's. 'The car is doing everything I want it to do. It is very easy to drive and I feel very confident. We have a very good chance of winning this race,' said Courtney at the end of the round which had twice been stopped due to spectacular crashes. Earlier in the day, Gommendy had remarked that Courtney seemed to be the outright favourite to fill his shoes. The Parisian, who graduated to Formula Renault after winning here 12 months ago, is a spectator this weekend, returning to the scene of his triumph after being invited by the organisers. 'I think James Courtney will win. He is very quick. I drove with him last year and I know him well. He is confident and makes very few mistakes which I think is very vital in Macau. For the driver who wins will be the one who makes few or no mistakes,' said Gommendy. Courtney left it until late to snatch top slot from Brazilian Fabio Carbone who finished 0.603 seconds adrift of the leader. In third place is Pierre Kaffer of Germany (2:14.126) in a Toyota-Tom's. All 30 competitors in the F3 race will have one more chance today to better their times as they jockey for positions on the grid for Sunday's race. Courtney, who was crowned Japanese F3 champion this year, sounded a warning, saying the others had not seen his best - yet. 'I'm not having to push it 100 per cent to get the best out of the car. I'm confident I can go faster. Pole position is looking good,' Courtney said. Drawcards Nelson Piquet Junior and Nico Rosberg - sons of former formula One world champions Nelson Piquet and Keke Rosberg - will have to step up the tempo if they are to make an impression after finishing eighth and 12th respectively. Local hero Andre Couto topped the field in the Guia race. The Alfa Romeo driver took provisional pole and was 1.901 seconds ahead of BMW rivals Jorg Muller and Andy Priaulx. 'I love this track and it is always nice to be back in Macau. Although I am ahead of BMW, I think they are deliberately going slow and will be much faster in qualifying tomorrow,' said Couto. In the Motorcycle Grand Prix, three-time winner and defending champion Englishman Michael Rutter proved that he will once again be the man to beat when he recorded the fastest time in yesterday's opening practice session. Rutter on the Renegade Racing Ducati was 3.5 seconds faster than closest rival John McGuinness (Zong Shen Racing Ducati).