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SUZUKA, Japan (AP) _ Defending champion Michael Schumacher won the pole Saturday for the Japanese Grand Prix, the final event of the Formula One season.

It was the 10th pole this year for the four-time series champion. He will be trying Sunday for a record-tying ninth victory this season.

Driving a Ferrari, Schumacher got around the 3.6-mile circuit in 1 minute, 32.484 seconds. Rookie Juan Pablo Montoya's Williams-BMW was 7-10ths of a second slower.

``This is one of the tougher circuits, so I'm really pleased with today's time,'' said Schumacher, trying to win the race for a fourth time. ``We did even better than we expected.''

The German is trying to win nine races in a season for the third time and second year in a row. Nigel Mansell won nine times in 1992, and Schumacher first matched that in 1995.

``I think second and third for our team is pretty good,'' Montoya said. ``I'm pleased with getting the front row on my first visit here, but I think a little experience in this place would help quite a lot.''

Montoya got his first career victory last month in the Italian Grand Prix.

Ralf Schumacher, Montoya's teammate and Michael's brother, will share the second row with Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello.

Mika Hakkinen, a two-time series champion who will be taking a year off after this race, will start fifth in his Mercedes-McLaren. Giancarlo Fisichella locked up the sixth spot on the grid in his Benetton-Renault.

David Coulthard, seven points ahead lead of Barrichello in the race for second place, will start seventh in his McLaren-Mercedes.