After setting an impressive fastest lap in this morning’s first free practice, Gabriele Tarquini and his SEAT León claimed their second pole position of the season in a dominant way.
It took only two flying laps to the Italian driver to leave the rest of the field behind. Tarquini topped Q1 with an already impressive 1:54.809, and in Q2 he literally annihilated his competitors with an improvement of nearly one second.
Yvan Muller was the only Chevrolet driver who managed to fight for the pole, and eventually claimed the second spot on the grid for tomorrow’s first race, while Rob Huff qualified in fourth and Alain Menu in a disappointing ninth.
Norbert Michelisz topped the Yokohama Trophy, and qualified a brilliant third overall. His team-mate Gábor Wéber completed Zengö Motorsport’s excellent result by qualifying seventh, ahead of local hero Tiago Monteiro.
Pepe Oriola qualified tenth, and therefore won pole position on the reversed grid for Race 2.
In a session that was disrupted by the red flag with only six minutes left on the clock, Tarquini posted the fastest lap beating the three Chevrolet cars of Muller, Huff and Menu.
Huff was the first driver to set the early pace with a lap of 1:54.985, but he was soon ousted by Tarquini’s 1:54.809 that remained the best time for the rest of the session.
After the red flag period, caused by Tom Chilton’s Ford that had stopped out of Turn 5 with a broken steering arm, Muller (1:54.982) and Menu (1:55.163) improved to rank second and fourth respectively, with Michelisz (1:55.242) in fifth, while Monteiro managed to make his way into the top-twelve on his last attempt, kicking Franz Engstler off.
The following drivers went through to Q2: Tarquini, Muller, Huff, Menu, Michelisz, Oriola, Cerqui, Coronel, Monteiro, Bennani, Dudukalo and Wéber.
Tarquini settled the matter for good on his first flying lap, smashing the 1:54 wall and setting a new track record of 1:53.966.
Muller was the only one who looked capable to threat Tarquini’s potential pole position, but the Frenchman could not achieve any better than the second fastest lap of 1:54.232.
Michelisz qualified in third position with the time of 1:54.598 and won pole position for the Yokhama Trophy, while Huff was able to climb to fourth with a last lap of 1:54.932.