Muller on pole as Chevy dominate


The team made up for a disappointing qualifying session a week before at the Slovakia Ring, with Muller finishing ahead of Rob Huff and Alain Menu by a quarter of a second and half a second respectively.

Gabriele Tarquini qualified his SEAT Leon in fourth position.

Proteam Racing’s Mehdi Bennani won pole position in the Yokohama Trophy, while James Nash managed to take a place in Q2 despite Team Aon’s troubles in finding the best set up for their Ford Focus cars.

Franz Engstler qualified 10th, and therefore won pole on the reverse grid for Race 2.

Both ROAL Motorsport drivers Alberto Cerqui and Tom Coronel later had their qualifying lap times disallowed by the stewards for an infringement.

The team plugged laptops into both cars to download data during the parc fermé time after the end of Q1.

As a result, Cerqui and Coronel, who had qualified 13th and 19th respectively, will be demoted to the back of the grids for the two races.

Qualifying 1

The Chevrolet drivers set the pace from the beginning. Rob Huff was the first to post a significant quick lap of 1:55.571, with Tiago Monteiro (1:55.757) and Norbert Michelisz (1:55.779) just behind.

Halfway through the session, Alain Menu moved the bar higher at 1:55.415, but he was soon ousted by Yvan Muller’s 1:55.338. Gabriele Tarquini placed himself in a provisional second place with a lap of 1:55.357.

Just before Q1 expired, both Huff (1:55.201) and Muller (1:55.077) managed to improve further.

Positions between sixth and 12th were shuffled as usual, with Alberto Cerqui missing the cut, beaten by James Nash by only four thousandths of a second.

Cerqui’s team-mate at ROAL Motorsport, Tom Coronel, was even more disappointed as he never showed the pace to advance to Q2 and ended up in 19th position.

As for James Thompson and his LADA Granta, after posting a promising 1:56.527 on the first lap out, they stopped along the track with mechanical problems and did not rejoin.

The following drivers went through to Q2: Huff, Muller, Tarquini, Menu, Monteiro, Michelisz, O’Young, Engstler, Oriola, Bennani, MacDowall and Nash.

Qualifying 2

With only 10 minutes to go and lap times of nearly two minutes, the drivers had only one shot to the pole. The fight was soon decided with Muller (1:54.503) and Huff (1:54.770) both capable to break the 1:55 wall.

Tarquini posted a provisional third fastest lap of 1:55.074, but did not have enough time to pit and rejoin. Eventually he was demoted to fourth by Menu’s last-gasp attempt (1:55.904) - this after the Swiss driver had aborted his first lap.

Mehdi Bennani claimed his best ever qualifying result, placing his Proteam Racing BMW in fifth position overall and on pole for the Yokohama Trophy ahead of local hero Michelisz.

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