Defending World Touring Car champion Gabriele Tarquini has taken an all-important pole position for SEAT on their Spanish home soil ahead of Sunday’s double-race header at the Ricardo Tomo circuit.

Tarquini took pole position at Valencia Tarquini defied popular expectation that Chevrolet would take a 1-2-3 sweep in qualifying with a blistering early lap in the second phase of qualifying to hold out in the challenge against the blue Cruzes.

Robert Huff joins Tarquini on the front row of the grid, with the other Chevrolets of Yvan Muller and Alain Menu right behind them on the second row.

The third row will be headed by the next-quickest SEAT of Tiago Monteiro, who qualified just quicker than team-mate Tom Coronel.

Despite the Dutch driver posting the sixth-quickest overall, he will take a ten-place grid penalty into the opening race by dint of an engine change this weekend. Instead, this promoted Spanish favourite Jordi Gené onto the third row, ahead of Fredy Barth, who posted the fastest time overall in Q1.

Curiously, the works BMWs continued their poor pace into qualifying proper, and lined up slowest of all in Q2, with Andy Priaulx only scraping into Q2 by 0.026 seconds over Michel Nykjær.

Norbert Michelisz could be another driver who may have to face a ten-place grid drop, Marc Carol qualified quickest of the Independent Trophy drivers with his engine letting go in the final minutes of Q1, and ensuring that he wouldn’t be a part of proceedings in Q2.

The Independent Trophy runners occupied the slowest eight positions in Q1, but it was Marc Carol who carried some local pride by proving quickest of all the regular runners. The Valencia-born driver qualified 14th-quickest for Sunday’s rolling start race.


FIA 2010 WTCC Valencia Qualifying Results:

  Driver Car Q1 Time Q2 Time
1. Gabriele Tarquini ITA SEAT León TDI 1:44.727 1:44.111
2. Robert Huff GBR Chevrolet Cruze LT 1:44.937 1:44.193
3. Yvan Muller FRA Chevrolet Cruze LT 1:44.922 1:44.258
4. Alain Menu SUI Chevrolet Cruze LT 1:44.710 1:44.439
5. Tiago Monteiro POR SEAT León TDI 1:44.869 1:44.468
6. Tom Coronel* NED SEAT León TDI 1:44.789 1:44.525
7. Jordi Gené ESP SEAT León TDI 1:44.897 1:44.773
8. Fredy Barth SUI SEAT León TDI 1:44.604 1:45.070
9. Augusto Farfus BRA BMW 320si 1:44.823 1:45.205
10. Andy Priaulx GBR BMW 320si 1:45.313 1:45.416
11. Michel Nykjær DEN SEAT León TDI 1:45.339  
12. Kristian Poulsen DEN BMW 320si 1:45.607  
13. Norbert Michelisz HUN SEAT León TDI 1:45.741  
14. Marc Carol (I) ESP SEAT León TFSI 1:45.837  
15. Darryl O’Young (I) HKG Chevrolet Lacetti 1:46.017  
16. Sergio Hernández (I) ESP BMW 320si 1:46.116  
17. Mehdi Bennani (I) MOR BMW 320si 1:46.419  
18. Franz Engstler (I) DEU BMW 320si 1:46.717  
19. Stefano D’Aste (I) ITA BMW 320si 1:46.783  
20. Yukinori Taniguchi (I) JPN Chevrolet Lacetti 1:46.997  
21. Andrey Romanov (I)* RUS BMW 320si 1:47.344  

* Denotes 10-place grid penalty for an engine change.

[Original image via FIA WTCC official site]

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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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