Muller on pole, Michelisz second
The RML driver and his Chevrolet Cruze car annihilated their competitors with monster split times in the first sector. The final gap between Muller and his closest rival was nearly four tenths of a second that were all won before the first intermediate.
Pushed by the enthusiasm of his fans, Norbert Michelisz tried his best to steal the pole and was capable to improve his Q2 lap time from 1:54.184 to 1:53.806 just as the session expired. However he had to settle for second, though with the great satisfaction to place his Zengö Motorsport Honda Civic ahead of the factory cars of Gabriele Tarquini and Tiago Monteiro. Tom Coronel and Tom Chilton qualified in fifth and sixth, while James Nash was seventh and on pole for the Yokohama Trophy. Rob Huff set the eighth fastest lap in the only SEAT car qualified for Q2.
Thanks to the reversed grid, MacDowall will start Race 2 from pole position with Mehdi Bennani alongside him.
Gabriele Tarquini secured his place in Q2 by setting the fastest lap of 1:54.076 that deomoted Yvan Muller’s 1:54.173 and Norbert Michelisz’s 1:54.397 to second and third respectively.
A few more drivers had no problems in making the cut: Huff, Chilton, Monteiro, MacDowall, Nykjær, Coronel. Other have to fight as usual not to be kicked off in the dying moments.
Fredy Barth was a late qualifier, posting the seventh fastest lap that pushed Pepe Oriola out of the top twelve. In a last gasp attempt the Young Spaniard improved his lap time, but not enough to move up from the 13th position. While James Nash and Mehdi Bennani took the two final spots.
For some times James Thompson kept a place in the top twelve for half of the Q1 and after he was kicked off he desperately tried to recover, but despite promising split times in the first sector he was not able to improve.
Michelisz set a provisional fastest time of 1:54.184 on his first lap, but Muller improved a few seconds later to 1:53.426 that was not to be beaten.
While Monteiro and Chilton provisionally managed to climb to second and third, Tarquini aborted his first lap and Coronel’s BMW was still sitting in pit lane.
Eventually Tarquini took the track with three minutes to go, shadowed by Coronel. The Italian was clocked at 1:53.953 and kept second place for a while, until Michelisz improved to 1:53.806 securing a place on the front row.