Muller Leads Cruze Domination In Brands Hatch Qualifying

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Championship leader Yvan Muller lead a clean sweep for Chevrolet as they took the top three spots in Qualifying for the Brands Hatch Round of the FIA World Touring Car Championship.

Q1 saw Rob Huff top the time sheets for much of the session but Chevrolet team-mate Yvan Muller would knock him down a place in the closing minutes. Alain Menu rounded out of Chevy 1-2-3 as the the 20 minute session drew to a close.

Colin Turkington was looking good until Stefano D’Aste spun at Clark Curve forcing the 2009 British Touring Car Champion off track. Thankfully for the Ulsterman he still posted a time good enough for seventh overall.

Robert Dahlgren in the Polestar run Volvo C30 had been inside the top 10 throughout the session but couldn’t manage enough to get through to Q2, finishing just outside in twelfth.

Tom Coronel was unlucky not to make it in to the top 10 in Q1 after pushing hard and running wide at Clark Curve. The Dutchman would finish the session in eleventh place. A disappointed Coronel was given a lifeline when Stewards extended the Q2 session from the normal 10 cars to 11.

Reigning Champion Gabriele Tarquini was the best placed non-Chevrolet car followed by Andy Priaulx, Tiago Monteiro, Turkington, Michelisz, Augusto Farfus, and Franz Engstler.

Heading in to the 10 minute Q2 session Yvan Muller nearly threw it all away as he ran wide in to the gravel trap at Paddock Hill, amazingly the Frenchman kept his foot down and powered back on to the track. Despite the off on his first flying lap he would recover to top the times once again and take pole position.

After the session Muller would reveal: “On my first attempt I braked a little late into Paddock Hill but fortunately I brought it back on track and was able to bring the car in and restart on new tyres. I then had to try and forget the mistake and push but I knew I couldn't do another mistake. I knew my car could do a 1:32.4s after Q1 but after my first attempt I wasn't sure I could do it again. I did though and I am pretty pleased with myself to have done it. I am also especially pleased for the team as it was a good team effort after all the work we have done over the winter and the first half of the season.”

Team-mate Rob Huff managed a time good enough to line up alongside his Chevrolet team-mate to start his home race from second place. “It's been a great team effort.” said Huff. “It's my home race and what better way to celebrate than with a top three for Chevrolet. Hopefully I will get pole one day but I made a slight mistake on the last corner. It would be nice to get a win, especially after getting a puncture while leading here three years ago, but I want to do what is best for the team and if we could come across the line 1-2-3 that would be a dream.”

Alain Menu would once again finish the session in third place and enter the race in a positive mood. “This track is a nice challenge for drivers and I have always done well here. It's a good result today but I don't know what will happen in the race. It's important for us to get a good result for Chevrolet for the championship.”

Colin Turkington would impress the crowd after he put his Independent BMW on the second row in fourth place. “It's a great result.” he said. “Our aim was to get into Q2. I had trouble in Q1 and had to run through the gravel to avoid a BMW and for a moment it didn't look good but I managed to get in a good lap. I improved my time again in Q2 which is something I didn't do in Portugal. I am hoping for a podium tomorrow as the BMW is a good car over race distance. We will just have to be patient and see what happens in the race.”

Norbert Michelisz finished the session as best rookie driver in ninth place and would speak of his love for the Brands Hatch circuit. “I was really looking forward to this race as this track is my favourite.” said the Hungarian. “We had no problems in practice but just didn't have the pace so I was not confident for today. But as qualifying started on new tyres the balance of the car was quite neutral and I could do clean laps. In Q2 I got sideways out the last corner when I was on a quick lap. I saw my time was faster and think I got a bit distracted so I am now confident for tomorrow.”

Tim Coronel faced a rough time as he replaced Andrei Romanov only managing 1 lap due to technical problems. Despite not qualifying the stewards have allowed him through in to the warm up and races which will see him start from the back of the grid.

Andy Priaulx will face a ten place grid penalty after being forced to change his engine.

Kristian Poulsen would see all of his times disallowed after failing to respect the Parc Fermé rules.

The Polestar team face a 500 Euro fine after Dahlgren failed to reach the garage for the weighing procedure under its own power.

Tom Boardman, Andy Priaulx, Michel Nykjaer all gained a 1500 Euro dine after failing to respect yellow flags.

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Founder and Editor-In-Chief of The Checkered Flag who grew up visiting race circuits around the UK also a freelance motorsport PR officer. Outside of motorsport a lover of music, photography, NBA and NFL.
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