Rob Huff has claimed pole position at Macau

Aspiring FIA World Touring Car champion Rob Huff has claimed an all-important pole position for Sunday’s traditional curtain-closer on the streets of Macau.

The Englishman broke the circuit’s qualifying lap record in the process, and will start Race 1 alongside team-mate and championship outsider Yvan Muller.

It was little surprise that the pace-setting Chevrolet trio made it through to Q2, and also that Tiago Monteiro managed the same in his ballast-reduced works Honda Civic S2000. The Portuguese driver had regularly featured at the sharp end of the timesheets during Thursday’s test session and Friday’s two practice sessions.

The first phase of qualifying was brought to a temporary halt when Fredy Barth crashed his SEAT at Police Bend, badly damaging the front of his León, but fortunately without causing himself any injuries.

The field tried to improve on their lap times when the session resumed, but with traffic so heavy around the circuit, none was able to do so.

This left a frustrated Tom Coronel having to sit on the sidelines once again in Q2, joining the two AON Ford entries of James Nash and Tom Chilton as the only two non-independent regular drivers who would have an early bath.

The second phase of qualifying saw Huff immediately set his record-breaking, and ultimately untouchable, benchmark lap, which gave him an extra five championship points in his pocket to extend his championship lead to 37 points over Alain Menu (who qualified third-fastest) and 42 points over Yvan Muller.

Tiago Monteiro was an impressive fifth-fastest in his HondaGabriele Tarquini managed to claim the ‘best of the rest’ honours in his final outing for SEAT.

The Italian veteran just edged out his 2013 Honda team-mate Tiago Monteiro, who took the little Civic S2000 to the giddy heights of fifth place on the grid. Given it is just the third race weekend with the new car, this was all the more impressive and it bodes well for next year’s championship.

Sixth-fastest went to Darryl O’Young, who claimed the Independent Trophy pole position honours in is Bamboo Engineering Chevrolet, one spot ahead of class leader Norbert Michelisz, who will be battling for title honours with Pepe Oriola and Stefano D’Aste this weekend.

O’Young’s team-mate Alex MacDowall qualified tenth-fastest, and earns pole position for Sunday’s second nine-lap race.

2012 FIA WTCC Guia Race of Macau Q1 & Q2 Session Times:

Driver Team Q2 Time YIT
1. Robert Huff GBR RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet 2:29.422  
2. Yvan Muller FRA RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet 2:30.144  
3. Alain Menu SUI RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet 2:30.488  
4. Gabriele Tarquini ITA Lukoil Racing SEAT León WTCC SEAT 2:30.936  
5. Tiago Monteiro POR JAS Honda Civic S2000 TC Honda 2:31.539  
6. Darryl O’Young HKG Bamboo Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet 2:31.643 Y
7. Norbert Michelisz HUN Zengõ Motorsport BMW 320TC BMW 2:31.670 Y
8. Mehdi Bennani MOR Proteam Racing BMW 320TC BMW 2:32.157 Y
9. Pepe Oriola ESP Tuenti Racing Team SEAT León WTCC SEAT 2:32.475 Y
10. Alex MacDowell GBR Bamboo Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet 2:32.521 Y
11. Stefano D’Aste ITA Wiechers-Sport BMW 320TC BMW 2:33.025 Y
12. Franz Engstler DEU Liqui Moly Engstler BMW 320TC BMW 2:33.107 Y
  Q2 CUT-OFF: 2:33.091 Q1 Time  
13. Tom Coronel NED ROAL Motorsport BMW 320TC BMW 2:33.181  
14. Tom Boardman GBR Special Tune Racing SEAT León WTCC SEAT 2:33.270 Y
15. Fredy Barth SUI Swiss Racing SEAT León WTCC SEAT 2:33.358 Y
16. James Nash GBR Team Aon Ford Focus S2000 TC Ford 2:34.792  
17. Tom Chilton GBR Team Aon Ford Focus S2000 TC Ford 2:34.969  
18. Aleksei Dudukalo RUS Lukoil Racing SEAT León WTCC SEAT 2:35.025 Y
19. Charles Ka-Ki Ng HKG Liqui Moly Engstler BMW 320TC BMW 2:35.180 Y
20. André Couto MCU Tuenti Racing SR León 1.6T Sunred 2:35.218 Y
21. Fernando Monje ESP SUNRED Engineering SEAT León WTCC SEAT 2:35.307 Y
22. Kei Cozzolino ITA ROAL Motorsport BMW 320TC BMW 2:39.020 Y
23. Joseph Merszei MCU Liqui Moly Engstler BMW 320si BMW 2:40.785 Y
  107% CUT-OFF: 2:41.466 Q1 Time  
NQ. Henry Ho Wai Kun MCU Five Auto Racing Team BMW 320si BMW 2:42.170 Y
NQ. Célio Alves Dias MCU China Dragon Chevrolet Lacetti Chevrolet 2:43.630 Y
NQ. Eurico de Jesus MCU Five Auto Racing Honda Accord R Honda 2:43.816 Y
NQ. Filipe de Souza MCU China Dragon Chevrolet Lacetti Chevrolet no time Y
NQ. Kin Veng Ng MCU China Dragon Chevrolet Cruze LT Chevrolet no time Y
NQ. Mak Ka Lok MCU RPM Racing BMW 320si BMW no time Y

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).

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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.