Gabriele Tarquini will start tomorrows World Touring Car Championship race from pole position after rain brought qualifying to an early end.
Qualifying 1 saw Alain Menu top the times in the Chevrolet Cruze after Andy Priaulx led the early part of the session. As the top ten battled to get through to Q2 Norbert Michelisz muscled through on his final run to knock Tom Coronel out of the top ten. The Dutchman would later admit that the team thought he’d done enough to make it through to the next session and that is why he was sent out on used tyres.
Darryl O’Young headed the Independents after spending a large part of the session in the top ten, but ultimately lost out when Pierre-Yves Corthals grabbed thirteenth place to top the non-manufacturer backed cars.
“I am really happy to be top independent and to race in Zolder.” said Corthals. “I didn't expect this result but I had a good last lap and made no mistake so I'm very pleased. I will now try to do my best tomorrow during the race and hopefully take victory in the Independents' trophy.”
Vincent Radermecker will start from sixteenth as he takes to the wheel in the guest Chevrolet Cruze.
Qualifying 2 would see Menu, Monteiro, Tarquini, Priaulx, Muller, GenÃ©, Michelisz, Farfus, Barth and Huff fight it out in the 10 minute session.
As rain began to fall the Team RBM BMW’s would lose out after opting to bide their time, the rest of the field had already set their first times at this point. With the track now wet the session would end there after one flying lap seeing Tarquini take his first pole position since Marrakech.
Talking after the two sessions pole sitter Tarquini commented “The cold conditions were good for us. It was good to get a lap at the start of Q2 and fortunately we chose to put new tyres on for our first run and it paid off. My second practice session was cut short as I tried to fly at the second chicane! I destroyed the flat bottom and the engine was leaking oil. We changed the engine as we had no penalty due to using it for the last three events, so to come out with a pole has been a lucky day for us.”
Team-mate Jordi Gene pointed out the positive effect of a non-petrol engine: “The track suits our diesel car as the corners open up at the exit and the tyre wear has been low. All in all it's going very well and I feel comfortable. I want a good result now so the objective tomorrow is a podium in Race 1.”
Alain Menu starts from third place on the grid after topping the time sheets in Q1, “I am very pleased.” said the Swiss. “I don't think there was any more time to find but it's looking good for tomorrow. I need some good points for sure after some bad luck and making the mistake of letting Priaulx through for eighth in Marrakech Race 1 giving him pole for Race 2.”
Top rookie of the day was Norbert Michelisz who finished the Q2 session in sixth place, “After testing I wasn't sure if we would be able to even make it into Q2.” he said. “It is my best result in qualifying this year and I'm very proud of the team. I'm feeling very happy with the car so I'm just looking to survive the first few corners of the race tomorrow now.”