Yvan Muller will start the opening round of the 2010 FIA World Touring Car Championship on pole position after today?s 30 minute session.

Muller, who set a time of 1m23.725s took pole from the SR-Sport Seat Leon TDi of Jordi Gene, with his Chevrolet team mates, Alain Menu and Rob Huff starting third and fourth.

Local hero Augusto Farfus Jnr will start the first race down in 7th, and behind new BMW Team RBM team mate Andy Priaulx.

The top 9 drivers on the grid were all within the fastest pole time from 2009.

Qualifying 1:

The first part of the 30 minute session saw all cars take to the track, and early on in the session, the BMW’s of Priaulx and Farfus were topping the times before all the Chevrolets started to take control, with Huff, Menu and Muller all sharing times at the top.

At the half way stage, Huff was still at the top of the times, while another Chevrolet that of bamboo engineering’s Darryl O’Young was topping the Independent category.

At the end of the 20 minute session for Qualifying 1, Chevrolet had locked out the top 3 positions, with local hero Farfus fourth. The biggest name to miss the cut was SR-Sports Tiago Monteiro, who afterwards said that he had a lack of speed and balance in his Leon TDi.

The WTCC Independent pole went to Scuderia Proteam Motorsport’s Stefano D’Aste, who said this about being the fastest Independent after qualifying: “If you had asked me two days ago if I would be here I would have said no as we?ve had lots of problems. BMW Motorsport have been a great help with some adjustments and the team and my engineer made some last minute set-up changes that worked well.”

Qualifying 2:

Heading into the second part of qualifying, Chevrolet hit the track and asserted their domination, such as they did in Q1, all of the Chevrolets bettered the first fast time set by Farfus.

Leading into the last minute of the session, all cars apart from the BMW of Farfus were in a slipstream, and the TDi Leon of Gene benefited from the tow, by splitting the stronghold of Cruzes at the front of the grid. Muller also improved his time and secured his first pole in the blue of Chevrolet. Muller then commented on his pole position: “My colour has changed from last year but I?m always pleased to be on pole. It?s a good way to start the season and good for building relations with my new team. I am happy for them as it shows all the hard work over the winter has paid off as the Chevrolets are placed first, third and fourth on the grid.”

The dominant BMW’s were left in 6th and 7th, Farfus being the only driver not to try again at the end.

The fastest of the WTCC rookies was Michel Nykjaer, who will start an impressive eighth on his WTCC debut at the wheel of a Sunred TDi Leon, and after the session, Nykjaer said:”Coming here as a newcomer and also with it being my first time at the track I?m pleased to get through to Q2. I?m very happy and the team are pleased as well.”

Qualifying Results

Position Name Car Time
1 Yvan Muller Chevrolet Cruze 1m23.725
2 Jordi Gene Seat Leon TDi 1m23.757
3 Alain Menu Chevrolet Cruze 1m23.829
4 Rob Huff Chevrolet Cruze 1m23.833
5 Gabriele Tarquini Seat Leon TDi 1m23.834
6 Andy Priaulx BMW 320si 1m23.955
7 Augusto Farfus BMW 320si 1m23.981
8 Michel Nykjaer Seat Leon TDi 1m24.161
9 Tom Coronel Seat Leon TDi 1m24.325
10 Norbert Michelisz Seat Leon TDi 1m24.926
11 Tiago Monteiro Seat Leon TDi 1m24.562
12 Fredy Barth Seat Leon TDi 1m24.983
13 Stefano D’Aste* BMW 320si 1m25.153
14 Darryl O’Young* Chevrolet Lacetti 1m25.328
15 Medhi Bennani* BMW 320si 1m25.486
16 Franz Engstler* BMW 320si 1m25.547
17 Sergio Hernandez* BMW 320si 1m25.826
18 Harry Vaulkhard* Chevrolet Lacetti 1m25.841
19 Andrei Romanov* BMW 320si 1m27.567

*= Yokohama Independents Trophy