Defending WTCC champion Gabriele Tarquini has continued SEAT’s remarkable dominance of the second round of the 2010 season by topping the timesheets in qualifying to determine the grid for the event’s opening race on Sunday.
With its front-wheel drive turbo diesel power not initially expected to perform as strongly on the stop-start street circuit at Marrakech, the Spanish marque has shown a remarkable turn of speed to head all test and practice sessions this weekend.
Tarquini’s pole position was all but assured when his closest rival for the top spot in Q2, Michel Nykjær, crashed out at the final chicane to bring the second part of qualifying to a close.
The Italian’s other rival for pole, Norbert Michelisz, crashed at the end of Q1 after taking the quickest time in that session. The Hungarian will be kicking himself for throwing away pole position by stuffing it into the wall.
The front row will be shared with Robert Huff, who posted his quickest time of the weekend so far only moments before Nykjær’s accident.
It’s an all SEAT second row, occupied by Jordi Gené and Tiago Monteiro, who line up ahead of Yvan Muller, Michel Nykjær, Tom Coronel and Fredy Barth.
Two surprises were very much in evidence in qualifying: only one BMW made it through to Q2, and that BMW happened to belong to an Independent runner: Franz Engstler! The German continued his sensational weekend form and trumped the manufacturer pairing of Andy Priaulx and Augusto Farfus, who appear unable to get their cars working properly this weekend.
FIA 2010 WTCC Round 2 Marrakech Qualifying Results:
[Original images via FIA WTCC official site]