QUALIFYING – TARQUINI LEADS A SEAT TRIO
On his home racetrack, championship leader Gabriele Tarquini took his fourth pole of the season in a SEAT-dominated qualifying. The Spanish marque used team-work and it paid dividends as they achieved a 1-2-3 with Yvan Muller (2nd) and Rickard Rydell (3rd). Augusto Farfus of BMW Team Germany, their closest championship contender, qualified sixth. Stefano D’Aste won the Independents‘ pole position.
Q1 – The session opened with the five SEAT Sport cars hitting the track in a line to benefit from slipstreaming. Activities were halted temporarily after Andrea Larini went off at the Acque Minerali and caused a red flag. On restarting the session all three Chevrolet’s entered the top ten along with Priaulx and Farfus. However, in order to ensure a strong presence in Q2, SEAT Sport made a final push at the end and with all five drivers setting their best times they laid claim to the top five positions. Hernández posted his best lap in the final seconds but it was five hundredths too slow to put him through. Müller and Zanardi were also notable names that missed out. Stefano D’Aste was the fastest Independent competitor and qualified 14th overall ahead of Porteiro (16th) and Coronel (17th). James Thompson was the lead LADA and qualified 15th after sitting seventh until half way.
Q2 – Despite making it into Q2, Alain Menu was absent due to engine problems as he pulled into his garage after Q1 – he will line up 10th on the grid. SEAT’s opening gambit was a strong one with all five drivers setting good times. Priaulx and Farfus were next out to try and slay the SEAT-shaped dragon but they only managed to demote Gené to seventh – Priaulx achieved fifth and Farfus sixth. On the next lap Farfus bettered his time but remained sixth as Huff had slipped into fourth (and consequently demoted Monteiro to fifth). Priaulx had to settle for seventh followed by Gené and Larini..