Yvan Muller claimed his second pole position of the season in a qualifying that was full of drama because of the changeable weather.
Despite the grip changed completely lap after lap, the Chevrolet team managed to keep everything under control and filled the top three positions of the starting grid for Race 1 once again, with Rob Huff and Alain Menu in second and third behind Muller.
Tiago Monteiro was the best of the SUNRED patrol, qualifying in fourth while his team-mate Gabriele Tarquini did not manage to proceed to Q2.
On his WTCC comeback, Colin Turkington put in a strong performance and ranked fifth overall, emerging as the best of the BMW drivers and winning pole position in the Yokohama Trophy.
Q1 – Changeable weather made this part of the session extremely exciting. The track was dry when the session started, but a shower came during the warm up lap. It did not last long and the track dried up so quickly that every car crossing the line was dramatically shaking the order.
Yvan Muller set a provisional fastest lap of 1:45.203 immediately before the shower and came back to the pit thinking that it was good enough for the pole.
However, as the racing lines began to dry, Yokohama Trophy competitors took command. Colin Turkington, Pepe Oriola, Franz Engstler and Kristian Poulsen followed one another in the lead, until the Chevrolet drivers re-established the hierarchy by posting the top three times in the dying moments: Muller 1:40.422, Rob Huff 1:40.526 and Alain Menu 1:40.838.
Darryl O’Young turned the Chevrolet trio into a quartet, setting the fourth fastest lap (1:40.895) and emerging as the best of the Yokohama Trophy.
The following drivers qualified for Q2: Muller, Huff, Menu, O’Young, Turkington, Engstler, Monteiro, Villa, Nykjær and Coronel who won pole position for tomorrow’s Race 2.
Gabriele Tarquini was the most illustrious victim of Q1, dropping to 11th by the end of the session, while Robert Dahlgren’s Volvo qualified in a disappointed 19th position.
Q2 – Once again Muller set a provisional fastest time on his first lap out of the pits (1:38.992), while Huff spoiled his first attempt making a mistake at the last corner.
Muller too made a mistake, driving wide at Coppice and missing a chance to improve; this gave Huff the opportunity to jump on top with a lap of 1:38.551, but the Frenchman struck back and claimed pole position with the time of 1:38.470.
Eventually Menu was able to qualify in third (1:38.794), ahead of Tiago Monteiro (1:39.167) and Colin Turkington (1:39.332) who topped the Yokohama Trophy.
WTCC Race of the UK – Donington Park – 16 / 17 July 2011
www.fiawtcc.com – www.donington-park.co.uk