Rob Huff dominated the World Touring Car Championship qualifying shootout in Macau, claiming pole position by nearly half a second.
The Q2 session had been postponed until Saturday morning when red flags lengthened the first session on Friday evening.
Huff went fastest for Chevrolet after the first set of laps, in which teammate Yvan Muller found the wall at Lisboa. Augusto Farfus (BMW Team RBM) went second quickest early on, but clipped the tyres at Lisboa on his second lap so returned to the pits for the rest of the session.
On his second run, Huff improved his original time to secure pole position. Muller returned to action to go second fastest, but was bumped down to third after an impressive lap by Macau debutant Norbert Michelisz.
A five-place grid penalty for the Hungarian after missing the weighbridge during Friday's Q1 session means that Alain Menu will complete a Chevrolet 1-2-3 on the grid for the first of tomorrow's races. SR-Sport's Tiago Monteiro will start from fourth, ahead of Farfus, Gabriele Tarquini and the demoted Michelisz.
Andy Priaulx could only manage eighth in the session, with top independent Darryl O'Young and local driver Andre Couto rounding out the top ten.
Huff said: “What a great achievement! It was a crazy qualifying session. The car was fantastic and we were looking good for a 1-2-3 but then Michelisz came along and put a belter in. Qualifying was different for sure. We went out on a brand new set of tyres and just had to go flat out for one banzai qualifying lap. Luckily the track had not changed much from yesterday, if anything I had a bit more grip. For the Manufacturers' title I think we just need one car at the front to wrap it up so with all three there you couldn't ask for more. Congratulations to the team; what a year it has been!”
Michelisz was delighted to have been second fastest, although he was disappointed by the penalty. “I really want to thank the team as my car was perfect,” he said. “Yesterday I think I was a bit cautious but when I was on new tyres today I knew I had to push. It worked out so I'm really happy. The penalty is a shame but it is something that happened and it was my mistake but I am still happy with today's result.”
Muller said: “There are still things to complete, we want to win the Manufacturers' Championship and I want to get a good podium result. I was quite pleased with qualifying especially after I hit the wall on my first lap. Yesterday I took more risks and today I took some but after the first corner I decided I was best not to! It is quite tricky to come out first thing in the morning and just go out and do one flying lap.”
O'Young added: “I am a bit disappointed as I had a better car than my lap showed but I just didn't have the tyres. I am very happy to be the best independent though as my target is to win the trophy. I am hoping to just have a clean race tomorrow to get the Independents' win and some good points.”