Chevrolet’s Alain Menu has claimed pole position for the opening race of this weekend’s World Touring Car Championship round on the streets of Marrakech in Morocco.
The Swiss driver – winner of the last race at Valencia – fended off strong challenges from team-mate Robert Huff and ROAL BMW driver Tom Coronel, with the top three drivers covered by less than seven-hundredths of a second in the final phase of qualifying.
Fourth-quickest in Q2 – having just scraped into the twelfth and final spot for the second leg of qualifying – was Gabriele Tarquini in the Lukoil SEAT, but the Italian was stripped of his times after qualifying when stewards found his car to be underweight. He will start both of tomorrow’s races from the back of the grid.
His penalty promoted championship leader Yvan Muller into fourth spot, while the third row of tomorrow’s first race will be occupied by the Independent Trophy runners Pepe Oriola and Alex MacDowell.
After showing some excellent pace in the earlier practice sessions, both Ford drivers made it into Q2 for the first time this season. Tom Chilton will start from seventh, while Independent Trophy runner James Nash will start from pole position in Race 2’s partially reversed grid.
Stefano D’Aste clobbered the circuit’s high kerbs and broke a driveshaft on his flying lap attempt, leaving him as the slowest Q2 runner.
Local hero Mehdi Bennani failed to make the top-twelve shootout in his Proteam BMW and will start from the seventh row, while Aleksei Dudukalo crashed out in Q1 and failed to post a time.
2012 FIA WTCC Race of Morocco Q1 & Q2 Session Times:
* Gabriele Tarquini’s Q1 and Q2 qualifying times were disallowed when his car was found to be underweight in post-qualifying scrutineering. Alberto Cerqui will also be demoted to the back of the grid for changing his engine.
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).