Andy Priaulx has claimed his first pole since Macau 2006. The BMW Team UK man was among the front runners during both practice sessions and qualifying and put in a stunning 1:22.462 when it mattered in Q2. He demoted BMW team-mate Augusto Farfus by just 11 thousandths of a second. Tom Coronel defied odds in taking part in Q2 after the front of his car was severely damaged in Q1. However, after sterling work from his team and determination behind the wheel he will line up a magnificent third tomorrow.
Q1 – While it was a BMW at the top of the timesheet for the majority of the Q1, on the last lap Robert Huff from Chevrolet stormed through with a 1:22.900 stealing the quickest time away from Priaulx by 0.042 of a second. Jörg Müller (1:22.960) and Augusto Farfus (1:23.201) went into Q2 as third and fourth best. Tom Coronel had great pace and was sitting fifth at the end of Q1. However, at this time his team was repairing his car for Q2 after he incurred damage with seven minutes remaining. Leading man Huff’s team-mates Larini and Menu both made the cut after claiming the sixth and seventh best times. Independent drivers Félix Porteiro and Franz Engstler along with Sergio Hernández made up the top ten, narrowly denying Alessandro Zanardi and Stefano D’Aste progression into Q2.
All the five SEAT Sport turbodiesel cars remained out of the Q2 for the first time.
Q2 – Tom Coronel was the man to beat for the opening half of the session after he clocked a 1:22.917. However, Farfus knocked the Dutchman off provisional pole by a sturdy four tenths of a second. The Brazilian’s time of 1:22.473 seemed good enough to set him up at the front for Race 1 until Priaulx bettered it by just 0.011 seconds. Coronel’s time secured third place on the gird alongside Jörg Müller. A trio of Chevrolets followed from fifth to seventh; Huff (1:23.097), Menu (1:23.128) and Larini (1:23.282).