Chevrolet’s qualifying domination continued at Budapest, where the blue Cruze cars claimed their fourth pole position out of four events. However, it was Alain Menu who reaped the honours, beating his team-mate Yvan Muller by 0.111 seconds. It was Menu’s first pole since Brands Hatch 2009.
Proteam Racing’s Javier Villa topped the Yokohama Trophy, but more than this he created a surprise by qualifying third overall and best of the BMW drivers.
Another surprise – a negative one – was provided by current WTCC leader Rob Huff, the pole man in the three previous race meetings. The Briton set only the 12th fastest lap in Q1 and therefore failed to advance to Q2.
Q1 – Javier Villa posted the fastest lap of 1:57.166 midway through the session and only Robert Dahlgren was able to threat his leadership. The Swede lapped in 1:57.207 securing his first trip to Q2 so far in the season.
Behind them, all other drivers had to fight hard to make it to Q2 and positions changed at every lap. Norbert Michelisz and Tom Coronel were the last two to secure a place among the top ten, just before the end of the 20-minute Q1.
The following drivers qualified for Q2: Villa, Dahlgren, Muller, Tarquini, Michelisz, Monteiro, Coronel, Poulsen, Menu and Bennani, who won pole position for tomorrow’s Race 2.
Darryl O’Young and Rob Huff were the first two drivers excluded from Q2 as they qualified 11th and 12th respectively.
Q2 – Alain Menu settled the pole position matter on his first flying lap, becoming the first WTCC driver to break the 1:57 wall at the Hungaroring. The Swiss driver’s 1:56.546 was not to be beaten.
Javier Villa set a provisional second fastest lap of 1:56.710, but he was demoted to third by Yvan Muller when the reigning world champion completed his last attempt in 1:56.657.
Tom Coronel and Norbert Michelisz tried in vain to squeeze among the top three and eventually had to settle in fourth and fifth positions respectively, with Robert Dahlgren in sixth ahead of Tiago Monteiro, Kristian Poulsen and Gabriele Tarquini. The first nine drivers were all covered by only half-a-second.
Mehdi Bennani closed the time sheet in 10th position after spoiling his chances when he ran wide at turn 1.