Huff Tops Intra-Chevy Battle For Salzburgring Pole

Rob Huff - Photo Credit: WTCC Media
Huff beat Muller for pole as the Chevrolets dominate the timesheets in Austria - Photo Credit: WTCC Media

Rob Huff has claimed pole position for the World Touring Car Championship's first race in Austria at the Salzburgring, his first of the season.

Qualifying always looked likely to be a Chevrolet-dominated affair after they had led the way convincingly in free practice.

And it was practice pacesetter Alain Menu who was quickest after their first runs in Q2, but on the second run Huff came out quickest, claiming pole by 0.142 seconds ahead of Muller. Menu was just a further 0.028s behind in third.

Gabriele Tarquini was the best of the rest in fourth, as he so often is when the factory Chevrolets dominate proceedings. He was 0.699s away from pole in his Lukoil SEAT. He prevented a Chevrolet Cruze top four, as Alex MacDowall was the next fastest for bamboo engineering to claim the Yokohama Trophy pole.

Tiago Monteiro scored sixth place in his Sunred-powered Leon, ahead of the BMW of Stefano D'Aste and SEAT youngster Pepe Oriola. Tom Coronel was ninth in his ROAL Motorsport-prepared BMW, with Tarquini's teammate Aleksei Dudukalo tenth.

That gives the Russian pole position for race two, though Coronel will be one to watch from alongside him on the front row in his rear-wheel-drive BMW.

Also through to Q2 were Darryl O'Young and Mehdi Bennani, who will start both races from 11th and 12th.

Q1 saw a red flag with just over three minutes remaining when Tom Chilton clattered into the BMW of Franz Engstler, desperate to his Team Aon teammate James Nash through at turn five. After the restart some managed to improve with a final effort, but Nash ended up missing out on Q2 to Monteiro by just 0.015 seconds.

Alberto Cerqui will start alongside Nash in 14th, with Hungaroring hero Norbert Michelisz a lowly 15th. Pasquale Di Sabatino failed to continue the strong pace that had seen him fourth behind the factory Chevrolets in FP2, and could only qualify 16th.

Engstler will start 17th alongside teammate Charles Ng. Chilton, who went to apologise to Engstler for the collision, had been due to line up directly behind in 19th, but was handed a grid penalty, moving him to the back behind Tom Boardman and Gabor Weber.

The two races take place at 12.20 and 13:45 on Sunday.