Robert Huff took pole once again

Robert Huff has clinched a hat-trick of Race 1 pole positions for the 2011 World Touring Car Championship season, with the championship leader heading yet another RML Chevrolet clean sweep in today’s top-ten qualifying session that determines the running order for Sunday’s first of two races.

Tiago Monteiro was slowest of the ten-fastest runners in the opening phase of qualifying, and he will start from pole for Sunday’s second race, although SEAT’s lack of speed at Monza will undoubtedly leave the Portuguese driver with plenty to do to keep his rivals at bay. Huff was ninth-fastest in that session and will share the front row with Monteiro.

With the Chevrolets having again dictated the pace in the preceding free practice sessions, it was a case of trying to minimise damage for their main rivals.

So it was something of a surprise to see a trio of BMWs lapping quickest in the first phase of qualifying, with Tom Coronel taking his ROAL-run BMW fastest around the Monza circuit, with Norbert Michelisz and Kristian Poulsen completing the top-three places.

Mehdi Bennani made his first top-ten shootout appearance for Scuderia Proteam, by going sixth-fastest in the opening session, and taking his BMW to ninth-fastest in the second session.

It was quite likely that the RML Chevrolet trio of Huff, Yvan Muller and Alain Menu were keeping a little in reserve for the final qualifying shoot-out after comfortably making it into the second phase of qualifying.

And it proved true, with all three drivers playing team tactics to perfection by taking turns to lend their team-mates a tow around the circuit. Huff towed Muller, Muller then towed Huff, and then Huff towed Menu to ensure a lock-out of the top-three places on the grid.

Darryl O’Young in the independently-run Bamboo Engineering took his new Chevrolet Cruze into the top-ten for the first time, although a mistake on his second flying lap meant he will start from sixth place for the first race.

Gabriele Tarquini With SEAT having elected not to run its new turbocharged engine at Monza, it was perhaps little surprise to see that its turbodiesel engine was proving rather breathless in comparison to its main rivals. Monteiro and Gabriele Tarquini were comfortably quicker than the other four León runners, but well off the pace of the Chevrolets and BMWs.

Tarquini also suffered a scare when his driver’s side window broke while he was driving, showering the Italian veteran with shards of glass. He was taken to the track’s medical centre for checks to ensure no fragments hit his eyes.

 

2011 FIA WTCC Race of Italy Q1 & Q2 Session Times (Race 1 Grid):

Driver Team Time
1. Robert Huff GBR RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet 1:59.034 (Q2)
2. Yvan Muller FRA RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet 1:59.131 (Q2)
3. Alain Menu SUI RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet 1:59.433 (Q2)
4. Norbert Michelisz HUN Zengõ-Dension Team BMW 320TC BMW 1:59.458 (Q2)
5. Tiago Monteiro POR SUNRED SEAT León 2.0 TDI SEAT 1:59.574 (Q2)
6. Darryl O’Young HKG Bamboo Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet 1:59.866 (Q2)
7. Kristian Poulsen DEN Team Engstler BMW 320TC BMW 2:00.010 (Q2)
8. Tom Coronel NED ROAL Motorsport BMW 320TC BMW 2:00.244 (Q2)
9. Mehdi Bennani MOR Scuderia Proteam BMW 320TC BMW 2:00.930 (Q2)
10. Gabriele Tarquini ITA Lukoil-SUNRED SEAT León 2.0 TDI SEAT 2:01.073 (Q2)
11. Javier Villa García ESP Scuderia Proteam BMW 320TC BMW 2:00.803  
12. Pepe Oriola ESP SUNRED SEAT León 2.0 TDI SEAT 2:00.861  
13. Franz Engstler DEU Team Engstler BMW 320TC BMW 2:00.912  
14. Michel Nykjær DEN SUNRED SEAT León 2.0 TDI SEAT 2:00.971  
15. Yukinori Taniguchi JPN Bamboo Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet 2:01.534  
16. Robert Dahlgren SWE Polestar Volvo C30 Volvo 2:01.823  
17. Fredy Barth SUI Swiss SEAT León 2.0 TDI SEAT 2:02.008  
18. Aleksei Dudukalo RUS Lukoil-SUNRED SEAT León 2.0 TDI SEAT 2:02.009  
19. Marchy Lee Ying Kin HKG KK Motorsport BMW 320TC BMW 2:04.088  
20. Urs Sonderegger SUI Wiechers-Sport BMW 320TC BMW 2:04.682  
21. Ibrahim Okyay TUR Borusan Otomotiv Motorsport BMW 2:04.790  
  OUTSIDE 107%       2:08.300  
22. Fabio Fabiani ITA Scuderia Proteam BMW 320si BMW 2:08.789  

Top-10 starting order determined via a separate top-ten single-lap qualifying session

————————————————————————————————————-

2011 FIA WTCC Race of Italy Q1 Session Times (Race 2 Grid):

Driver Team Time
1. Tiago Monteiro POR SUNRED SEAT León 2.0 TDI SEAT 2:00.549
2. Robert Huff GBR RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet 2:00.515
3. Gabriele Tarquini ITA Lukoil-SUNRED SEAT León 2.0 TDI SEAT 2:00.511
4. Yvan Muller FRA RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet 2:00.382
5. Mehdi Bennani MOR Scuderia Proteam BMW 320TC BMW 2:00.287
6. Alain Menu SUI RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet 2:00.279
7. Darryl O’Young HKG Bamboo Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet 2:00.030
8. Kristian Poulsen DEN Team Engstler BMW 320TC BMW 2:00.005
9. Norbert Michelisz HUN Zengõ-Dension Team BMW 320TC BMW 1:59.961
10. Tom Coronel NED ROAL Motorsport BMW 320TC BMW 1:59.907
11. Javier Villa García ESP Scuderia Proteam BMW 320TC BMW 2:00.803
12. Pepe Oriola ESP SUNRED SEAT León 2.0 TDI SEAT 2:00.861
13. Franz Engstler DEU Team Engstler BMW 320TC BMW 2:00.912
14. Michel Nykjær DEN SUNRED SEAT León 2.0 TDI SEAT 2:00.971
15. Yukinori Taniguchi JPN Bamboo Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet 2:01.534
16. Robert Dahlgren SWE Polestar Volvo C30 Volvo 2:01.823
17. Fredy Barth SUI Swiss SEAT León 2.0 TDI SEAT 2:02.008
18. Aleksei Dudukalo RUS Lukoil-SUNRED SEAT León 2.0 TDI SEAT 2:02.009
19. Marchy Lee Ying Kin HKG KK Motorsport BMW 320TC BMW 2:04.088
20. Urs Sonderegger SUI Wiechers-Sport BMW 320TC BMW 2:04.682
21. Ibrahim Okyay TUR Borusan Otomotiv Motorsport BMW 2:04.790
  OUTSIDE 107%       2:08.300
22. Fabio Fabiani ITA Scuderia Proteam BMW 320si BMW 2:08.789

Top-10 starting order determined reversing the order of the ten fastest drivers in Q1.

[Original images via FIA WTCC Media]

The following two tabs change content below.

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.
Share