Shanghai, Qualifying: Muller leads Chevrolet top six lock-out
Chevrolet cars stun the field
Today’s qualifying session in Shanghai turned into a triumphal march for Chevrolet. All the six drivers at the wheel of the Cruze cars monopolized the top six positions of the time sheet.
Yvan Muller claimed his seventh pole position of the season, beating his RML team-mate Tom Chilton, Pepe Oriola, the bamboo-engineering duo of James Nash and Alex MacDowall (who will be fighting for the Yokohama Trophy title tomorrow) and WTCC returnee Rickard Rydell.
As for the others, they looked rather focusing on the ninth and tenth positions that are worth the front row for the second race’s grid. It will be Tiago Monteiro to start from pole in Race 2, with his team-mate Gabriele Tarquini alongside him.
Yvan Muller completed a lap of 1:54.132 late in the session beating Pepe Oriola’s provisional fastest lap of 1:54.225.
Muller had opened hostilities with a lap of 1:54.658 in the early stages of the session, which was later beaten by Gabriele Tarquini who stopped the clock at 1:54.637.
The last five minutes were plenty of drama. Oriola posted his provisional fastest lap that was soon beaten by Muller. Alex MacDowall and Rickard Rydell were the last drivers to qualify for Q2 and they kicked off James Thompson and Tom Coronel respectively.
Both Tiago Monteiro (1:54.505) and Rob Huff (1:54.541) managed to improve their lap times before the end of the session and moved up to third and fourth respectively. Franz Engstler was the only BMW driver to make to the top twelve.
Jerónimo Badaraco’s Chevrolet sat in the garage for the whole session due to a gearbox problem, while Stefano D’Aste was forced to slow down and pit because of a broken driveshaft.
Only the following eleven drivers went through to Q2: Muller, Oriola, Monteiro, Huff, Tarquini, Nash, Rydell, Chilton, MacDowall, Michelisz and Engstler. Thed Björk’s Volvo that was not eligible to qualify for Q2 will line up 12th on the grid for both races.
With a lap time of nearly two-minutes, all drivers had only one qualifying attempt to spend.
Yvan Muller settled the matter with an impressive 1:53.486 that improved the WTCC track record from last year by nearly one second. Five other Chevrolet drivers were classified behind him: Tom Chilton, Pepe Oriola, James Nash, Alex MacDowall and Rickard Rydell were all covered by four tenths of a second.
Norbert Michelisz’s Honda was the best of the rest in seventh position, followed by Rob Huff’s SEAT. The Castrol Honda Team duo of Tiago Monteiro and Gabriele Tarquini ranked tenth and ninth, meaning that they will share the front row of the grid for tomorrow’s second race.
|Pos.||Driver||Car||Time Q1||Time Q2|
|1||Yvan MULLER||Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T||1:54.132||1:53.486|
|2||Tom CHILTON||Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T||1:54.886||1:53.868|
|3||Pepe ORIOLA||Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T||1:54.225||1:54.008|
|4||James NASH||Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T||1:54.777||1:54.034|
|5||Alex MACDOWALL||Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T||1:54.942||1:54.054|
|6||Rickard RYDELL||Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T||1:54.873||1:54.215|
|7||Norbert MICHELISZ||Honda Civic||1:55.081||1:54.576|
|8||Rob HUFF||SEAT Leon WTCC||1:54.541||1:54.623|
|9||Gabriele TARQUINI||Honda Civic||1:54.637||1:54.666|
|10||Tiago MONTEIRO||Honda Civic||1:54.505||1:54.959|
|11||Franz ENGSTLER||BMW 320 TC||1:55.164||1:55.624|
|12||Thed BJORK||Volvo C30||1:54.826||-:—.---|
|13||Tom CORONEL||BMW 320 TC||1:55.204|
|14||James THOMPSON||Lada Granta||1:55.316|
|15||Marc BASSENG||SEAT Leon WTCC||1:55.434|
|16||Hugo VALENTE||SEAT Leon WTCC||1:55.535|
|17||Charles NG||BMW 320 TC||1:55.581|
|18||Darryl O’YOUNG||BMW 320 TC||1:55.591|
|19||Tom BOARDMAN||SEAT Leon WTCC||1:55.610|
|20||Fredy BARTH||BMW 320 TC||1:55.719|
|21||Mikhail KOZLOVSKIY||Lada Granta||1:55.920|
|22||René MUNNICH||SEAT Leon WTCC||1:56.171|
|23||Fernando MONJE||SEAT Leon WTCC||1:56.282|
|24||Mehdi BENNANI||BMW 320 TC||1:56.359|
|25||Yukinori TANIGUCHI||Seat Leon WTCC||1:57.128|
|26||Stefano D’ASTE||BMW 320 TC||1:58.448|
|27||Henry HO||BMW 320 si||1:58.865|
|28||Filipe de SOUZA||Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T||1:59.230|
|29||Kin Veng NG||Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T||2:00.337|
|30||Ka Lok MAK||BMW 320 si||2:01.838|
|31||Jeronimo BADARACO||Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T||-:—.---|
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