Muller fastest in disrupted qualifying
|By Jonathan Noble||Friday, November 19th 2010, 09:57 GMT|
Yvan Muller was fastest in an incident-filled first qualifying session for the World Touring Car Championship finale at Macau on Friday, as fading light forced organisers to delay the shoot-out element until Saturday.
The 30-minute session was blighted by four red flags and, with the lack of light making it impossible to complete the shoot-out, race officials took the decision to delay that element until Saturday.
The top drivers had completed just one flying lap when the first red flag came out. SEAT driver Tom Coronel swiped the barrier at Fishermen's Bend - leaving debris scattered across the track.
The accident brought out the red flags and there was a lengthy delay while race officials made repairs to the barriers.
Following the restart, a second red flag was brought out when Masaki Kano spun his car into the middle of the circuit at Turn 1 - shortly after Andy Priaulx had hit the barriers at R Bend and parked his car at the exit of the pits.
When the session eventually began again, there was yet another red flag when Kristian Poulsen hit the barrier at Paiol - ripping a wheel off his BMW and leaving his car stranded in the middle of the track. Sergio Hernandez then arrived on the scene and hit the wall trying to avoid Poulsen and his debris.
With light fading fast, race officials managed to get the session going and there was time for just one flying lap - where Muller pipped Chevrolet team-mate Rob Huff for the top spot, with Tiago Monteiro setting the third best time.
Any opportunity for another flying lap was taken away when the fourth - and final - red flag came out after Coronel, whose car had been fixed following his earlier accident - hit the barrier again just before Police bend. By that stage, qualifying had been running for almost two hours.
Muller admitted he had never experienced a qualifying session like it.
"It was strange, but then qualifying at Macau is always bizarre," he said. "I don't think I have ever had such a long qualifying in my life."
Pos Driver Car Time Gap Laps 1. Yvan Muller Chevrolet 2m31.948 5 2. Rob Huff Chevrolet 2m32.323 +0.375 5 3. Tiago Monteiro SEAT 2m32.416 +0.468 7 4. Alain Menu Chevrolet 2m32.809 +0.861 5 5. Norbert Michelisz SEAT 2m33.013 +1.065 5 6. Darryl O'Young Chevrolet 2m33.197 +1.249 6 7. Gabriele Tarquini SEAT 2m33.274 +1.326 4 8. Andy Priaulx BMW 2m33.331 +1.383 5 9. Augusto Farfus BMW 2m33.610 +1.662 7 10. Andre Couto SEAT 2m33.869 +1.921 6 11. Fredy Barth SEAT 2m34.045 +2.097 7 12. Michel Nykjaer SEAT 2m34.190 +2.242 8 13. Tom Coronel SEAT 2m34.191 +2.243 6 14. Sergio Hernandez BMW 2m34.689 +2.741 5 15. Colin Turkington BMW 2m35.246 +3.298 6 16. Franz Engstler BMW 2m37.094 +5.146 7 17. Mehdi Bennani BMW 2m37.984 +6.036 6 18. Yukinori Taniguchi Chevrolet 2m39.267 +7.319 6 19. Cesar Campanico BMW 2m40.315 +8.367 6 20. Henry Ho BMW 2m40.396 +8.448 6 21. Kevin Chen BMW 2m40.840 +8.892 6 22. Nobuteru Taniguchi BMW 2m40.897 +8.949 6 23. Kristian Poulsen BMW 2m42.455 +10.507 5 24. Jo Merszei BMW 2m45.002 +13.054 6 25. Masaki Kano BMW 2m45.574 +13.626 4 26. Andrey Romanov BMW no time 27. Philip Ma Honda no time