ROB HUFF STARTS FROM SECOND ROW
Rain In Spain Shuffles Cards
VALENCIA - A sudden thunderstorm half an hour before the start of the qualifying session and steady rain throughout shuffled the cards for the WTCC participants in Valencia. Alain Menu and Rob Huff nevertheless gave it their best, achieving third and fourth fastest times respectively. Nicola Larini struggled with his car's set-up but still managed to set the tenth fastest time which gives him a potentially good starting position in view of the reversed grid in tomorrow's second race. After the session, Menu's car failed the ground clearance test and his times were disallowed, putting him to the back of the grid in front of the cars which did not qualify but will be allowed to take part in the races.
Rob Huff (3rd): "I am pleased to be at the sharp end of the grid, but obviously a little disappointed at the same time. I set a first and second time in this morning's sessions, so I had hoped it would have stayed dry in the qualifying session since I felt I was very close to a pole position time. We didn't change too much on the car other than adjusting the front roll bar as we have only done so little running in the rain the last seasons it is always a bit of a gamble when you're supposed to get everything correct in just one half hour."
Nicola Larini (9th): "This was not an easy session. I was struggling with the way the car was set up and which in the wet didn't really suit my normal driving style, so I couldn't push as hard as I would have liked. Under braking I always had to be very gentle not to lock up at the front, but we still have to look into why that was. It's a shame really, because all weekend long I had a good feeling with the track, but under the new rain tyre rules which stipulate that you have to have a minimum 5mm thread each time you leave the pits you basically have to stay out as long as possible in case a dry line appears at some point. This also means you better not come in to make changes to the set up because otherwise you have to put on new tyres as well and you thus have to build up your level of grip again."
Alain Menu (23rd): "I did the best I could given the weather conditions. It was very tricky under braking as I kept locking up the rears. I couldn't play with the brake balance as that would have meant I'd probably lock up the fronts and go off. On quite a few occasions I started to slide and only just managed to get the car back. Then after the session my car failed the ride height test on one point of the front splitter, but I don't know whether this is due me riding the kerbs in a few corners or whether it is related to the new kind of rain tyres we still have to get used to. Needless to say this will affect my championship ambitions, but at the same time I will most likely have a very light car at the next race in Pau, which is still one of my favourites."