Gabriele Tarquini


Gabriele Tarquini will start the first WTCC race of the 2012 season from pole position after setting the fastest time (1:57.915) in Qualifying this afternoon. In doing so, Tarquini’s SEAT León has ended the string of thirteen successive pole positions by Chevrolet that began in Macau in 2010. Behind the Italian driver on the grid will be the four Chevrolet Cruze cars of Yvan Muller, Robert Huff, Alain Menu and Rickard Rydell with seventh-placed Pepe Oriola the highest of the Yokohama Trophy contenders.


Q1 - The Chevrolet of Alain Menu was the early pace-setter in the session, but Pepe Oriola sprung a surprise after four laps when his SEAT León went fastest. The Spanish driver’s joy was short-lived, however, when Gabriele Tarquini and Robert Huff both went quicker. Yvan Muller then snatched the second-fastest time, with Alain Menu and the BMW of Norbert Michelisz also going quicker than Oriola before the session was red-flagged when Alberto Cerqui went off at the Parabolica.

The following drivers went through to Q2: Tarquini, Muller, Huff, Michelisz, Menu, Oriola, Dudalko, Coronel, Rydell, D’Aste, MacDowall and Wéber.

Q2 - Tarquini’s pole-winning time occurred on only his second lap, with the three factory Chevrolet drivers unable to better his performance. Muller (1:57.974), Huff (1:58.106) and Menu (1:58.200) will therefore all start behind the SEAT driver in tomorrow’s first race. The Chevrolet Motorsport Sweden Cruze of Rickard Rydell (1:58.319) and Tom Coronel in a BMW 320 TC (1:58.389) qualified fifth and sixth respectively, with Oriola (1:58.412) heading the Yokohama Trophy entrants in seventh. Alex MacDowall (1:58.507), Aleksei Dudukalo (1:58.649) and Norbert Michelisz (1:58.652) rounded off the top ten, with Stefano D’Aste (1:58.931) eleventh fastest and Gábor Wéber (1:59.348) twelfth.

Thanks to the reversed grid, it will be the BMW 320 TC of Norbert Michelisz that will start Race 2 from pole position.

© ÓrbitanewsSport 2011