A highly-charged Tiago Monteiro took an emotional pole position in front of an adoring Portuguese crowd, marking the former F1 driver’s first WTCC pole position since Monteori took pole on home soilAnderstorp in 2007.

Monteiro – whose last WTCC victory came on home soil in 2008 at Estoril – will be keen to add another home victory to his roster in tomorrow’s opening race, after headining both Q1 and A2 qualifying sessions with some blistering times around the challenging Portimao circuit.

The local driver edged out Chevrolet’s Yvan Muller by just half a tenth in the final run, and his run to pole was all the more impressive after recovering from a brush with the BMW of Andy Priaulx, which forced the SEAT driver into the pits for repairs in Q1.

Third-placed Augusto Farfus made it three different manufacturers in the top-three placings, with the Brazilian posting a single flying lap to knock Gabriele Tarquini out of third spot.

Row three will be occupied by Robert Huff and Norbert Michelisz, with Jordi Gené and Andy Priaulx lining up on the following row, with Alain Menu rounding out the RML Chevrolet representation in ninth spot.

The impressive Colin Turkington was the sole Independent Trophy runner to make it into Q2 – a feat rarely achieved by an Independent Trophy driver, it must be said – and he continued to embarrass the establishment with another impressive showing.

With both factory BMWs and all three Chevrolets making the final qualifying session, it was no surprise that a few of the SEAT drivers would be among the higher-profile casualties at the end of Q1, with Michel Nykjær, Fredy Barth and Tom Coronel (suffering a reported oil leak) just missing out on competing for a top-ten grid slot.

Of no surprise at all was to see Andrei Romanov round out the running order with yet another last-placed result in qualifying. The Russian – who showed some pace in the second practice session earlier today – has generally looked out of his depth this season, and it would be no surprise to see his seat at Liqui Moly Engstler be up for consideration.

FIA 2010 WTCC Round 5 Portimao Qualifying Results:

  Driver Car Q1 Time Q2 Time
1. Tiago Monteiro SEAT León TDI 1:55.931 1:55.372
2. Yvan Muller FRA Chevrolet Cruze LT 1:56.112 1:55.425
3. Augusto Farfus BMW 320si 1:56.200 1:55.675
4. Gabriele Tarquini SEAT León TDI 1:56.097 1:55.709
5. Robert Huff Chevrolet Cruze LT 1:56.183 1:55.934
6. Norbert Michelisz HUN SEAT León TDI 1:56.479 1:55.991
7. Jordi Gené SEAT León TDI 1:56.302 1:56.104
8. Andy Priaulx BMW 320si 1:56.258 1:56.141
9. Alain Menu Sui Chevrolet Cruze LT 1:56.261 1:56.246
10. Colin Turkington (I) BMW 320si 1:56.513 1:56.696
11. Michel Nykjær DEN SEAT León TDI 1:56.517  
12. Darryl O’Young (I) Chevrolet Lacetti 1:56.766  
13. Harry Vaulkhard (I) Chevrolet Lacetti 1:56.828  
14. Fredy Barth Sui SEAT León TDI 1:56.905  
15. Tom Coronel NED SEAT León TDI 1:56.946  
16. Sergio Hernández (I) BMW 320si 1:57.502  
17. Kristian Poulsen DEN BMW 320si 1:57.578  
18. Franz Engstler (I) BMW 320si 1:57.803  
19. Mehdi Bennani (I) BMW 320si 1:57.887  
20. Stefano D’Aste (I) BMW 320si 1:58.008  
21. Andrey Romanov (I) BMW 320si 2:00.413  

[Original images via FIA WTCC official website]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.

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