HUFF CLAIMS CHEVROLET CRUZE'S FIRST POLE
Chevrolet's Robert Huff rained on SEAT's parade in qualifying by claiming pole position, the first for the new Cruze car. Gabriele Tarquini will start second and Yvan Muller third. Despite setting the second fastest lap, Alain Menu was demoted to 10th because the Stewards disallowed his Q2 qualifying times after his car did not restart following a mandatory visit to the weighing bay.
Q1 - SEAT had company at the top of the qualifying timesheet in the form of Chevrolet. While Tiago Monteiro initially made claim to pole with a 1:51.086, Menu (1:50.271), Nicola Larini (1:50.723) and Huff (1:50.817) stole the top spots. The end of the session saw Andy Priaulx miss his braking point at turn 1 and clash with Hernandez who had come off his line to let Zanardi through. Due to the fact he received external aid to restart, the Briton was not permitted to take part in Q2 and therefore qualified ninth following Menu's penalty.
All of the LADA drivers remained out of Q2. Despite not making Q2, Morrocan driver Mehdi Bennani put in a strong performance to qualify 14th overall and second of the Independents.
Q2 - The session ended prematurely for Jorg Muller who suffered a rear left puncture after six minutes. He did not post a competitive qualifying time and will line up eighth for Race 1 tomorrow.
The pack was tight and at one point during the session just four tenths of a second split the top six.
On the last lap Huff charged to the front with a 1:49.789. Tarquini clocked a 1:50.086 on his last lap to secure a front-row place and Muller's best time was 1:50.156. Muller will line up third followed by Jordi Gene, Larini and Monteiro. Franz Engstler qualified a magnificent seventh which not only equates to the lead Independent driver, but the front running BMW.
Menu's gloomy qualifying session ended when he hit the wall at turn 2 on his last lap.