MENU CLAIMS LAST GASP POLE
Alain Menu has claimed his fourth pole position of the season for Chevrolet. The Swiss man stole pole from the grasp of James Thompson who set a superb 1:33.032 on his first flying lap.The field had a task on their hands to beat it. Menu did so by 0.014 of a second with just one and a half minutes left on the clock.
Thompson's opportunity to reclaim pole was dashed whan Felix Porteiro went off at Paddock Hill Bend and became stranded in the gravel. Consequently yellow flags were deployed for sector one of the track and Thompson, along with the rest of the field who were hoping for a last lap attempt, had just the second and third sectors in which to push to the limit. Thompson did not improve.
On the second row will be Colin Turkington at the wheel of the Team RAC BMW 320si. The Ulsterman was in contention for a strong grid position for the entire session and eventually completed a lap of 1:33.082 with four minutes of the session left. Alongside him in fourth place will be Tiago Monteiro, making four different manufactuters -- Chevrolet, Alfa Romeo, BMW and SEAT at the front of the grid. The Portuguese driver achieved a time of 1:33.207 which was 0.053 of a second better than that of his team-mate Yvan Muller who will line up fifth.
Jorg Muller had a relatively quiet session and eventually qualified seventh with a time of 1:33.297 that he set on his last attempt. Jordi Gene will line up alongside the German driver in eighth position.
British drivers Rob Huff and Andy Priaulx will occupy ninth and tenth positions on the grid, with Championship leader Augusto Farfus in 13th.
Alessandro Zanardi, qualified 15th, but he will be dropped 10 grid positions due to the penalty he received for being involved in a pile-up at Oschersleben.
The Independents' pole position was claimed by Pierre-Yves Corthals who qualified an impressive sixth overall. His closest rivals are SEAT Sport Italia's Roberto Colciago and Massimiliano Pedalà who qualified 17th and 18th.
QUALIFYING QUOTES FROM BRANDSAlain MENU
"I can't remember the last time a grid for the Grand Prix circuit was so tight. My last lap was a good one. I was trying for pole but I was also conscious I didn't want to lose out on a front row position. This morning the car was not to my liking but we changed a few things and I was happy with it in qualifying."
"I am a bit disappointed with qualifying although I really shouldn't be because second is a great position. To be honest our expectations were higher and I was unfortunate to have been caught by the yellow flags at the end. I set a great time at the start and waited in the pits for most of the middle sprint, it was a case of bad luck at the end."
"I didn't know what to expect because it is my first time in the championship. In Britain, Team RAC is competitive but I didn't expect to do this well. The free practice sessions were encouraging but I thought everyone else would have something extra in the bag for qualifying."
"To be the lead SEAT is always important to me. It was so competitive out there and in the end there were 19 cars within one second which proves it is an amazingly competitive championship. Overall it was a good session despite being held up on my last attempt at a fast lap."
"After the crash in Oschersleben the team has worked hard to repair my car and it feels good now. As always, my principle goal is to win the Independent catergory and what is good for me tomorrow is that Colciago and Pedalà are ten cars behind me."