YVAN MULLER FIRST POLEMAN OF THE YEAR
The SEAT León TDI cars will fill the five top spots of the grid for tomorrow’s race 1 after Yvan Muller, Jordi Gené, Gabriele Tarquini, Tiago Monteiro and Rickard Rydell posted the five fastest laps in today’s qualifying session.
For the first time the drivers faced the new qualifying format with the session split in two parts. At the end of the 20-minute Q1 ten drivers were qualified for the 10-minute Q2.
Q1 – The session was red-flagged after only five minutes, when Kristian Poulsen spun at the last turn, crashing his BMW head-on into the inside wall.
After the restart SEAT and BMW drivers posted their first fast times, with Y. Muller leading the field with a lap of 1:24.345.
Gabriele Tarquini, who was 11th in the final moments, saved himself with a lap of 1:24.537 that promoted him to second position, before he was demoted to third by Alain Menu’s last gasp attempt at 1:24.537 (only 0.003 seconds faster).
The top-ten drivers were covered by 0.6 seconds, with Nicola Larini claiming the last position valid to go ahead to Q2.
Q2 – SEAT Sport’s five men were the first to hit the track and Y. Muller set a new record at 1:24.196, a time good enough to eventually claim pole position.
Jörg Müller, Andy Priaulx, Augusto Farfus and Larini waited until the last minutes to make their only attempt; the German provisionally climbed to second with a lap of 1:24.637, but he was immediately demoted to sixth when the five-car SEAT train crossed the line placing Jordi Gené, Tarquini, Tiago Monteiro and Rickard Rydell in the order behind Y. Muller.