Porto: Qualifying report

CHEVROLET MAKE A CLEAN SWEEP Chevrolet couldn't have had a better result in qualifying after achieving a 1-2-3. Alain Menu, Robert Huff and Nicola Larini all posted their best times (2:06.927, 2:07.687 and 2:07.731) within seconds, towards the...

CHEVROLET MAKE A CLEAN SWEEP

Chevrolet couldn't have had a better result in qualifying after achieving a 1-2-3. Alain Menu, Robert Huff and Nicola Larini all posted their best times (2:06.927, 2:07.687 and 2:07.731) within seconds, towards the end of a disrupted session.

The three Chevrolets were followed by a trio of SEATs and three BMWs. Tom Coronel will line up fourth for GR Asia ahead of Gabriele Tarquini -- who was the provisional pole sitter for most of the session -- and Yvan Muller.

Reigning champion Andy Priaulx qualified the best BMW as seventh with a time of 2:08.574. Alongside him on the grid will be Alex Zanardi who is followed by Jorg Muller.

The German driver saw a premature end to his outing when he crashed into the barriers at Turn 1 where his car remained for the last few minutes of the session.

Two separate incidents in the 45 minute session meant two red flags. The first came with 20 minutes remaining: James Thompson hit the exit of the paddock chicane which tore most of the front right of his car off.

Remarkably, despite crossing the line on just three wheels, the Briton set his best lap of 2:08.939 which placed him tenth on the grid.

The second accident also happened at the chicane when Tiago Monteiro touched the inside of the entrance and then hit the armco on the inside which set the car spinning.

When his SEAT Leon had been removed Chevrolet began their attack. Menu posted a 2:07.349, Larini then slotted in second only to be demoted to third by Huff.

While Huff attempted to go better on the next lap he made a mistake at turn one and crashed. Menu was successful in his attempt to improve and broke the 2 minute 7 second barrier.

The session ended with a dramatic clash between Roberto Colciago's SEAT and Felix Porteiro's from BMW.

On the exit of turn 16 Colciago was on his last flying lap and hit the back of the BMW that was slowing down. The result was that both cars spun and crashed into separate walls.

The SEAT was in flames moments later but Colciago came out of the car unscathed. A previous lap by the Italian was good enough to make him fastest of the Independents and 11th overall.

QUALIFYING QUOTES FROM PORTO

Alain MENU
"I like this track. It's challenging and the fast corners and quick changes of direction suit the Chevrolet. It's certainly not an easy track. After the first red flag I hit a wall lightly but it meant my car wasn't quite right. So when the second red flags came out it was a chance for the team to make sure everything was working well and afterwards I did my best times."

Robert HUFF
"I'm very pleased to be on the front row because I've had a difficult start to the season. After my fastest lap I tried to go quicker again and pushed in the first sector because I've been fast there all weekend. However, it was not meant to be. On street circuits a small mistake can have big consequences."

Nicola LARINI
"The team has done a great job today. My car is improving race by race and that's a good feeling. We have a really strong team and the 1-2-3 is the result. Overtaking shouldn't be a problem in the races because there a couple of points on the track where it is possible."

Tom CORONEL
"This is a street fight and I think I'm good at that. The free practices went well so I knew the car and I had the potential to be top eight. Qualifying on the second row is more than I could have expected. A couple of times I had to abort a fast lap because of traffic but I didn't get frustrated I just kept aiming for top eight."

Roberto COLCIAGO
"I am frustrated because I couldn't make a flying lap all session. On my last lap I was going fast but on the last corner I found Porteiro going really slow. I thought he'd move but he just didn't and because he was going so slow I had nowhere to go...I couldn't even brake because he was there."

-credit: wtcc

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About this article
Series WTCC
Drivers Andy Priaulx , Alex Zanardi , Jorg Muller , Tiago Monteiro , Yvan Muller , James Thompson , Felix Porteiro , Gabriele Tarquini , Nicola Larini , Roberto Colciago , Alain Menu