Yvan Muller has won his third pole position of the 2012 FIA World Touring Car Championship season. The defending series champion led a near clear-sweep for Chevrolet in qualifying at Curitiba, with the Cruze 1.6T claiming five of the top six grid slots for Sunday’s opening race.
Muller had been quickest in both of the day’s earlier practice sessions around the Brazilian circuit, and then given a stiff challenge from team-mates Alain Menu and Robert Huff during both qualifying sessions. The Frenchman was as spectacular as ever, having a wild oversteer moment on his first flying lap, before delivering a more composed effort next time around to snatch pole position by less than two-tenth of a second from team-mate Menu.
Chevrolet’s success wasn’t just confined to its works-supported team, with the Independent Trophy outfit Bamboo Engineering having its most competitive showing of the season with both of its cars comfortably through to the second phase of qualifying.
The team’s stand-in driver Michel Nykjær – substituting for the unwell Pasquale di Sabatino this weekend – was an excellent fourth-fastest in Q2, two spots ahead of the team’s regular driver Alex MacDowell.
The pair was split by the Honda-bound SEAT driver Gabriele Tarquini, who qualified two spots ahead of fellow SEAT runner Darryl O’Young and fellow León runner Tiago Monteiro, who will also be joining Tarquini at Honda next year.
BMW had a rather disappointing showing in qualifying, with only three of its runners making the second phase of qualifying, Ninth and tenth-fastest were Tom Coronel and Norbert Michelisz, who will share the front row for the day’s second race, in which the fastest ten qualifiers starting positions will be reversed.
2012 FIA WTCC Race of Brazil Q1 & Q2 Session Times:
The starting order for Race 1 is determined by the qualifying results indicated above, unless states otherwise. The ten-fastest drivers – as indicated by their Q2 fastest times – start in reverse starting order for Race 2, unless stated otherwise. (‘Y’ denotes Yokohama Independent Trophy entered driver).