Muller leads a Chevrolet quartet
The Chevrolet Cruze cars completed a clean sweep in today’s qualifying at Curitiba. As it was expected Yvan Muller, Alain Menu and Rob Huff monopolized the top three positions, and Michel Nykjær provided the icing on the cake grabbing fourth place on his WTCC comeback.
Just like he had done in the two free practice sessions, Muller was able to go faster than his two team-mates and claimed his third pole position of the season.
Called in at the last minute to replace Pasquale Di Sabatino at bamboo-engineering, Nykjær cproved that he still knows how to be competitive in the WTCC and stole fourth position from Gabriele Tarquini with an impressive last lap in Q2.
For the whole day Tarquini had tried to chase the Chevrolet trio. However, the Italian driver spoiled his first lap in Q2 by driving too wide at the last turn and had to pit for new tyres. This might have jeopardized his chances of achieving a better result than fifth, just ahead of Alex MacDowall and Darryl O’Young.
None of the BMW drivers was ever able to fight for top positions, but eventually Norbert Michelisz and Tom Coronel qualified tenth and ninth, meaning a full BMW front row on the reversed grid for Race 2.
Alex MacDowall was the fastest in the early stages with a lap of 1:23.726, followed by Rob Huff’s 1:23.781. Then Yvan Muller and Alain Menu jumped on top. The Swiss driver was timed at 1:22.877, but his French team-mate ousted him with a lap of 1:22.824.
Behind them Michel Nykjær set the fourth fastest time of 1:23.567, with his team-mate MacDowall completing a Chevrolet quintet on top.
Tom Coronel managed to squeeze among the top-twelve, emerging as the best of the rest in sixth position (1:23.925) just ahead of Gabriele Tarquini (1:23.764).
Norbert Michelisz was the last one to win a place in Q2, moving up to seventh and kicking Alberto Cerqui off the top-twelve.
Pepe Oriola and Stefano D’Aste were the prominent victims of Q1, with the Italian driver who had to blame himself for making twice the same mistake at the last corner.
The following drivers adavanced to Q2: Muller, Menu, Huff, Nykjær, MacDowall, Coronel, Tarquini, Michelisz, O’Young, Dudukalo, Monteiro and Bennani.
The Chevrolet trio topped the classification from the very last lap, with Muller (1:22.512) ahead of Menu (1:22.522) and Huff (1:22.736).
They all managed to improve on their second attempt. Muller claimed the pole for good with a lap of 1:22.289, while Menu (1:22.444) and Huff (1:22.592) maintained their second and third positions.
In the dying seconds of the session, Tarquini posted a provisional fourth fastest lap of 1:22.947, but Nykjær demoted him to fifth, posting a 1:22.765 that gave him the pole in the Yokohama Trophy.