Sebastien Loeb claimed pole position in just his second World Touring Car Championship qualifying session, coming out on top of another intra-Citroen battle for top spot at his and the team’s home event at Paul Ricard.
Loeb was the second of the Citroen trio to run in the Q3 one-lap shootout for pole, and beat fellow Marrakech race winner Jose Maria Lopez by 0.092 seconds.
Yvan Muller was last to run after topping Q2 but a slow middle sector left him three tenths of a second behind and handed pole to Loeb.
Gabriele Tarquini bounced back from missing last weekend’s opening race weekend due to car damage to claim fourth and best-of-the-rest in his rebuilt Honda Civic.
Frenchman Hugo Valente – who earlier set the pace in free practice – took fifth as the slowest of the drivers in Q3 in his Campos Racing Chevrolet.
Norbert Michelisz was the best of those knocked out in Q2 in his Zengo Motorsport Honda ahead of Chevrolet trio Tom Chilton, Dusan Borkovic and Gianni Morbidelli, with Tiago Monteiro claiming race two pole with the tenth best time for Honda.
Rene Munnich and Mehdi Bennani settled for 11th and 12th in Q2, while the Lada trio of Rob Huff, James Thompson and Mikhail Kozlovskiy knocked out in Q1.