ROUNDS 13 & 14 – PORTO
TARQUINI BEATS HUFF FOR POLE POSITION
Gabriele Tarquini took pole in a tight session that saw six drivers qualify within three tenths of a second.
The Italian achieved a 2:.09.308 early in Q2 which was 0.087 better than Robert Huff’s second-place time. Yvan Muller will line up third with Andy Priaulx alongside him.
Q1 – Yvan Muller set the fastest lap in the final minutes of the session. His SEAT Sport companions Tiago Monteiro, Gabriele Tarquini, Jordi Gené and Rickard Rydell joined him into Q2. The final minutes of Q1 were make or break for Zanardi who narrowly missed out on a Q2 place. The Italian was lying tenth until Rickard Rydell slotted into ninth. Despite a final attempt Zanardi could not promote himself to the next stage. Zanardi’s team-mate Sergio Hernández hit the wall after completing just 6 laps and did not continue in the session.
Jörg Müller was also denied a place in Q2 after setting the 12th best time overall. Tom Coronel qualified 13th to take the Independents‘ pole.
Q2 – Posting a fast flying lap early was the key to a successful Q2. The top four spots (Tarquini, Huff, Muller and Priaulx) were all taken at the start of the stage. All of the competitors returned to pits after three minutes with the exception of Menu who eventually qualified fifth. On returning to the track it was all to play for but spells of yellow flags meant progress was hindered. Priaulx was on a fast final lap and looked certain at a chance of pole until the last chicane where he lost the back of the car. Rydell also blew his chances of a higher grid position on his last lap by cutting the same chicane; the Swede will line up ninth ahead of Jordi Gené. Local driver Tiago Monteiro was one of a few to improve his time in the later stages of the session and took sixth position followed by Farfus (7th) and Larini (8th).