Augusto Farfus took a surprise pole position in qualifying ahead of the opening race of the World Touring Car Championship’s third round of the 2010 season, courtesy of a major blunder by SEAT’s Gabriele Tarquini.
The Spanish marque had been expected to breeze to pole position with the turbo diesel cars ideally suited to the long straights on the Monza circuit, but problems in the five-car peloton turned into something of an own-goal for the squad, much to the benefit of rivals BMW and Chevrolet.
All five remaining SEATs were compromised when Gabriele Tarquini drifted wide at the second Lesmo right-hander when running at the head of the queue, forcing all following drivers to back off.
By the time the drivers had realigned themselves for another shot in the ten-minute Q2 session, the best performance in their tyres had gone, and the end result was the top-five grid positions being split between the BMW and Chevrolet cars.
Farfus’ first timed run did enough, edging our Robert Huff’s Chevrolet Cruze by less than three-hundredths of a second.
With Andy Priaulx, Alain Menu and Yvan Muller occupying positions three to five on the starting line-up, Jordi Gené was the quickest of the SEATs, followed by Tarquini, Norbert Michelisz, Fredy Barth, and Tiago Monteiro.
Darryl O’Young’s Chevrolet Lacetti wound up quickest of the Independent Trophy contenders – perhaps a surprise result given the flurry of BMWs in the class – and will start from the sixth row.
The surprise elimination in Q1 was SEAT’s Tom Coronel, with the Dutch driver consigned to the garage for much of the session and only able to post a single flying lap en route to 13th on the grid.
FIA 2010 WTCC Round 2 Marrakech Qualifying Results:
[Original image via FIA WTCC official website]