Predictions came true as three Chevrolet turbo cars achieved the first places in the qualifying session at Curitiba.
It is not a surprise that Rob Huff and Yvan Muller will share the front row of the grid for tomorrow’s Race 1. However, the third blue car is not Menu’s as expected, but that of local Stock Car hero ‚Cacá‘ Bueno, as the Swiss racer failed to reach Q2.
The new system that determines the starting grid for the second race by reversing the top-ten drivers classified in Q1 proved spectacular as those who had adopted a conservative approach were forced to push or kicked off.
Q1 – Fastest laps improved quickly in the early minutes with Monteiro posting a 1:22.869 that nobody was able to beat. Poulsen was second fastest and best of the Yokohama Trophy.
The fight to win a top-ten spot was thrilling, with Huff capable of jumping back from 11th to fifth just as the session expired, unintentionally kicking off his team-mate Menu.
Monteiro, Poulsen, Muller, Engstler, Huff, Bueno, Tarquini, Coronel, Barth and Nykjær proceeded to Q2, with the latter awarded with pole position for the second race.
Menu and Dahlgren were the first illustrious casualties of the season as they both were excluded at the last second and will line up 11th and 12th respectively on the grid for both races.
Q2 – The three remaining Chevrolet cars of Huff, Muller and Bueno posted the fastest times for good on their first lap out. The Briton’s impressive 1:21.758 smashed the existing lap record and gave him the first pole position of the season. Muller’s 1:22.147 and Bueno’s 1:22.503 were enough to secure them the second and third spot on the grid for tomorrow’s Race 1.
With a lap of 1:22.632 Nykjær secured the fourth spot of the grid and pole position for the Yokohama Trophy.
A common drama involved the group of drivers who waited until the last minutes for improving. When Coronel, Tarquini, Poulsen, Barth, Monteiro and Engstler were on their hot lap a light rain began to fall and as a results they all missed the braking point at the end of the straight and went wide, their hopes vanished.
PENALTIES PROMOTES MENU TO RACE 2 POLE
The penalties awarded by the Stewards after today’s qualifying demoted Fredy Barth and Darryl O’Young, but also promoted Alain Menu to pole position for tomorrow’s Race 2.
Barth and O’Young were stripped of all their qualifying times for different infringements.
The crew of the Hong Kong man worked on his car under parc fermé condition which resulted in O’Young being demoted from 15th to 19th.
Barth was penalised for missing twice the red light at the weighing bay and straight-cutting a chicane during Q1. The Stewards decided to exclude him from the qualifying results and pushed him to the back of the grids for both Race 1 and Race 2.
As a consequence of Barth’s exclusion, Menu was promoted to 10th in the final results of Q1 that also meant pole position for Race 2.
Franz Engstler too had his fastest lap time disallowed from the Q2 results for straight-cutting a chicane. However this did not affect his tenth position.