Monza WTCC: Yvan Muller dominates chaotic qualifying
|By Sam Tremayne||Saturday, March 23rd 2013, 14:59 GMT|
Yvan Muller dominated a messy first qualifying session of the 2013 World Touring Car Championship.
As the Frenchman flew, breaking his own record practice pace several times, a number of his rivals floundered in a series of uncharacteristic and at times destructive clashes.
Rob Huff was the first to suffer an early exit as he and Freddy Barth made contact on their out-laps, just three minutes into the session.
Huff tried to limp his Munnich SEAT round to the pits but eventually abandoned the attempt, his stricken car leading to a lengthy red flag spell.
When the session resumed Muller immediately shot to the top of the timesheets. As he did so Lada's qualifying unravelled in spectacular fashion.
Aleksei Dudukalo misjudged braking for the first chicane and barrelled straight into the side of team-mate James Thompson (pictured below), who had been 100 metres down the road.
The Briton was at least able to make his way round to the pits and even got out in Q2 to set the ninth fastest time, giving him a share of the front row for Sunday's second race. Dudukalo was out on the spot and will start from 16th.
Honda also suffered, with Gabriele Tarquini tipping Rene Munnich into a spin late on in Q1 and then earning a black and white flag via contact under braking.
Tarquini was the only Honda driver to make it through to Q2, with team-mate Tiago Monteiro 15th. Zengo's Norbert Michelisz also failed to make the cut, suffering from brake issues.
Tarquini was at least able to break into the top five in qualifying, although he had little to offer in the way of competing with the dominant RML Chevrolets of Muller and team-mate Tom Chilton.
The pair will start the first race of the season alongside each other on the front row, with a third Cruze - that of Bamboo's Alex MacDowall - third.
Pepe Oriola took fourth ahead of Tarquini and James Nash in the second Bamboo Cruze. Michel Nykjaer and Marc Basseng share the fourth row.
Darryl O'Young earned himself pole for race two courtesy of qualifying 10th.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Yvan Muller RML Chevrolet 1m56.486s 2. Tom Chilton RML Chevrolet 1m57.345s + 0.859s 3. Alex MacDowall Bamboo Chevrolet 1m57.685s + 1.199s 4. Pepe Oriola Tuenti SEAT 1m57.833s + 1.347s 5. Gabriele Tarquini Honda 1m57.946s + 1.460s 6. James Nash Bamboo Chevrolet 1m58.005s + 1.519s 7. Michel Nykjaer NIKA Chevrolet 1m58.172s + 1.686s 8. Marc Basseng Munnich SEAT 1m58.518s + 2.032s 9. James Thompson Lada 1m58.669s + 2.183s 10. Darryl O'Young ROAL BMW 1m58.781s + 2.295s 11. Fernando Monje Campos SEAT 1m58.814s + 2.328s 12. Stefano d'Aste PB BMW 2m00.475s + 3.989s 13. Franz Engstler Engstler BMW 1m59.046s Q1 14. Tom Boardman Special Tuning SEAT 1m59.116s Q1 15. Tiago Monteiro Honda 1m59.155s Q1 16. Aleksei Dudukalo Lada 1m59.303s Q1 17. Tom Coronel ROAL BMW 1m59.386s Q1 18. Mehdi Bennani Proteam BMW 1m59.685s Q1 19. Rene Munnich Munnich SEAT 1m59.978s Q1 20. Fredy Barth Wiechers BMW 2m00.090s Q1 21. Norbert Michelisz Zengo Honda 2m00.799s Q1 22. Charles Ng Engstler BMW 2m00.901s Q1 23. Jean-Philippe Dayraut Anome BMW 2m00.957s Q1 24. Rob Huff Munnich SEAT