Tarquini Uses His SEAT’s Portimao Pace To Put It On Pole

Gabriele Tarquini - Photo Credit: WTCC Media
Gabriele Tarquini - Photo Credit: WTCC Media

Gabriele Tarquini took advantage of the pace of his Lukoil Racing Team SEAT Leon around the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve to claim his second pole position of the World Touring Car Championship season.

After setting the pace in free practice, the Italian veteran was again ahead in qualifying. He topped Q1 and then took pole with his first flying lap in Q2.

Championship leader Yvan Muller had to play second fiddle to Tarquini, the Chevrolet driver finishing 0.266 seconds adrift.

Norbert Michelisz made it three different makes in the top three, finishing as the top Yokohama Trophy driver in his BMW – six tenths from Tarquini.

Rob Huff aborted his first qualifying attempt, but moved up to fourth place on the grid after the checkered flag, the best part of a second away from pole.

Tom Coronel took fifth, just half a tenth quicker than ROAL Motorsport BMW teammate Alberto Cerqui. Cerqui's fellow rookie Gabor Weber also scored his best qualifying result in seventh on a good day for the Zengo Motorsport team.

Home hero Tiago Monteiro was eighth, just 0.001s behind Weber. Close behind him was Alain Menu in the third factory Chevrolet, who bagged himself a front row start for the second race alongside Pepe Oriola.

Mehdi Bennani and Aleksei Dudukalo rounded out the top 12, and will start both races one row in front of Franz Engstler and Darryl O'Young. Alex MacDowall was 15th, one spot ahead of Salzburgring winner Stefano D'Aste.

James Thompson was 17th on the second outing for the new Lada Granta, little more than a tenth away from making it into Q2. Charles Ng was 18th, Tom Boardman 19th on his first race with SEAT's new turbo engine and Pasquale di Sabatino 20th.

It was a disastrous day for Team Aon, with James Nash and Tom Chilton set to share the back row of the grid. Chilton's session came to an early end with a broken steering arm.