Yvan Muller has led RML teammate Tom Chilton to a 1-2 in qualifying at Porto

Yvan Muller has claimed his fourth pole position on the trot and will look to extend his championship lead when he starts from the prime grid slot for Sunday’s opening race around the streets of Porto.

The Frenchman led home RML Chevrolet teammate Tom Chilton, with the Englishman scrambling around the 4.8-kilometre circuit to claim P2 after the second qualifying session was suspended due to an accident for Pepe Oriola.

Despite his dramas, Oriola still managed to qualify sixth-fastest in his first outing at the wheel of a Chevrolet Cruze to ensure four of the six-fastest qualifiers would represent the American carmaker. Michel Nykjær was third-quickest in his NIKA Racing entry.

As we had predicted, the Hondas would prove to be the closest challengers to the Chevrolets. Norbert Michelisz managed to qualify his Zengõ Motorsport entry fourth-quickest, while Gabriele Tarquini was fifth-fastest in his Castrol-sponsored Civic.

Tarquini’s teammate Tiago Monteiro had a nightmare Saturday, suffering a turbo failure in the morning’s second free practice session, which was still not fully cured come qualifying. The luckless Portuguese driver could only manage the 17th-fastest James Thompson qualified seventh-quickesttime.

The LADA outfit had another solid showing for James Thompson, who took his little Granta to seventh-quickest, beating home all SEAT and BMW runners and giving the team plenty of reasons to smile.

Münnich Motorsport managed to get two of its SEATs into the final phase of qualifying, with reigning champion Rob Huff qualifying eighth-fastest, one spot ahead of teammate Marc Basseng, who had his best qualifying performance since the second round of the season at Marrakech.

Tenth-quickest was James Nash in the first of the Bamboo Engineering Chevrolets, giving the Englishman pole position for Race 2, which will have the ten-fastest qualifiers reverse their grid positions. Nash’s teammate Alex MacDowall suffered a single-car accident in the opening qualifying session, consigning him to a lowly qualifying session for both races.

2013 FIA WTCC Race of Russia Q1 & Q2 Session Times:

Driver Team Q2 Time YIT
1. Yvan Muller FRA RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet 2:05.347  
2. Tom Chilton GBR RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet + 0.198  
3. Michel Nykjær DEN NIKA Racing Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet + 0.630 Y
4. Norbert Michelisz HUN Zengõ Motorsport Honda Civic WTCC Honda + 0.686
5. Gabriele Tarquini ITA Castrol Honda Civic WTCC Honda + 0.825  
6. Pepe Oriola ESP Tuenti Racing Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet + 1.067 Y
7. James Thompson GBR LADA Sport Granta LADA + 1.205  
8. Robert Huff GBR Münnich Motorsport SEAT León WTCC SEAT + 1.313  
9. Marc Basseng DEU Münnich Motorsport SEAT León WTCC SEAT + 1.316  
10. James Nash GBR Bamboo Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet + 1.555 Y
11. Tom Coronel NED ROAL Motorsport BMW 320TC BMW + 1.556
12. Franz Engstler DEU Liqui Moly Engstler BMW 320TC BMW + 1.718 Y
  Q2 CUT-OFF: 2:07.539 Q1 Time  
13. Mehdi Bennani MOR Scuderia Proteam BMW 320TC BMW 2:07.560 Y
14. Stefano D’Aste ITA PB Sport BMW 320TC BMW 2:08.045 Y
15. Darryl O’Young HKG ROAL Motorsport BMW 320TC BMW 2:08.146 Y
16. Fredy Barth SUI Wiechers-Sport BMW 320TC BMW 2:08.160 Y
17. Tiago Monteiro POR Castrol Honda Civic WTCC Honda 2:08.209
18. Tom Boardman GBR Special Tune Racing SEAT León WTCC SEAT 2:08.678 Y
19. Charles Ka-Ki Ng HKG Liqui Moly Engstler BMW 320TC BMW 2:08.716 Y
20. Fernando Monje* ESP Campos Racing Team SEAT León WTCC SEAT 2:08.778 Y
21. Hugo Valente FRA Campos Racing Team SEAT León WTCC SEAT 2:09.122 Y
22. Alex MacDowall GBR Bamboo Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet 2:09.361 Y
23. Nikolai Karamyshev* RUS Campos Racing Team SEAT León WTCC SEAT 2:09.551 Y
24. René Münnich DEU Münnich Motorsport SEAT León WTCC SEAT 2:10.350 Y
  OUTSIDE 107% Q1 Time  
NQ. Mikhail Kozlovskiy RUS LADA Sport Granta LADA no time

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).
* Demoted to the back of the grid for Race 1 for an unscheduled engine change.

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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.