Beijing Goldenport WTCC: Tom Chilton takes pole in ROAL Chevrolet

Tom Chilton achieved a surprise first World Touring Car Championship pole of 2014 in his ROAL Chevrolet at Beijing's Goldenport circuit

Beijing Goldenport WTCC: Tom Chilton takes pole in ROAL Chevrolet

It is the Briton's first WTCC pole position since the Sonoma round last year.

After struggling in damp conditions in practice on Saturday, the privateer Chevy runners found an upturn in performance in dry qualifying.

Chilton was fifth fastest, and the final runner to make the Q3 cut, in the second part of qualifying, before producing an exceptional lap of 1m04.321s in the single-lap Q3 shootout.

"I thought I had made a mistake at the hairpin in Q3. I turned in too early." said Chilton.

"I was shocked in Q2 when I saw 1m04.5s, I thought, 'Whoa! That was good'. Then I just chipped away and got another two tenths, down to 1m04.3.

"Yesterday our car wasn't good in greasy conditions, but maybe also it is the circuit that has more grip than we thought it had.

"Down the straight I had another gear compared to yesterday. Comparing coming out of the hairpin, whereas before it was very progressive on the throttle, today I could almost floor the throttle on maximum lock."

Despite confessing to a small mistake on the last sector in Q3, Gabriele Tarquini finished second fastest for Honda, just 0.032 seconds behind Chilton.

Reigning WTCC champion Yvan Muller took third, and will be joined on the second row of Sunday afternoon's opening race by championship-leading title rival and Citroen team-mate Jose Maria Lopez.

Hungaroring winner Gianni Morbidelli confirmed the potential of the Cruze, which received a development upgrade by car builder RML prior to China, by taking fifth.

Zengo Motorsport's Norbert Michelisz edged out World Rally Championship legend Sebastien Loeb to complete the top six.

James Thompson finished top Lada runner in ninth ahead of Chilton's ROAL team-mate Tom Coronel.

In a good morning for Lada, 2012 champion Rob Huff (pictured) picked up the reversed-grid pole position for race two.

Consistently fastest throughout Saturday and in Q1, Tiago Monteiro was unable to fully explain his eventual 11th position.

Honda's Civic WTCC received an engine upgrade and boost from a homologation joker played in the run-up to the Beijing round, which appeared to yield a breakthrough in pace. Monteiro's best guess for his sudden downturn was a problem with a set of tyres.

The Q1 session was red-flagged after five minutes when Felipe de Souza, taking part in his first WTCC outing of the season, parked his Engstler BMW in the gravel at T14.

Dusan Borkovic caused a second red flag when he lost control at Turn 4 in an attempt to make the Q2 cut. The Serbian's front bodywork became detached after a trip across the grass, but the Campos driver received a tow back to the pits later rejoined the action.

Moscow winner and practice two pacesetter Ma Qing Hua was unable to progress from Q1. The Chinese racer appeared to be running a considerably less steeply raked rear-wing than his Citroen team-mates.

Pos Class Driver Team Car Time Gap
1 TC1 Tom Chilton ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet 1m04.321s -
2 TC1 Gabriele Tarquini Castrol Honda WTC Team Honda 1m04.353s 0.032s
3 TC1 Yvan Muller Citroen Total WTCC Citroen 1m04.411s 0.090s
4 TC1 Jose Maria Lopez Citroen Total WTCC Citroen 1m04.776s 0.455s
5 TC1 Gianni Morbidelli All-Inkl.com Munnich Motorsport Chevrolet 1m04.840s 0.519s
6 TC1 Norbert Michelisz Zengo Motorsport Honda 1m04.788s 0.467s
7 TC1 Sebastien Loeb Citroen Total WTCC Citroen 1m04.872s 0.551s
8 TC1 James Thompson LADA Sport Lukoil Lada 1m04.937s 0.616s
9 TC1 Tom Coronel ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet 1m04.937s 0.616s
10 TC1 Rob Huff LADA Sport Lukoil Lada 1m05.019s 0.698s
11 TC1 Tiago Monteiro Castrol Honda WTC Team Honda 1m05.152s 0.831s
12 TC1 Hugo Valente Campos Racing Chevrolet 1m05.428s 1.107s
13 TC1 Mehdi Bennani Proteam Racing Honda 1m05.663s 1.342s
14 TC1 Ma Qinghua Citroen Total WTCC Citroen 1m05.874s 1.553s
15 TC1 Mikhail Kozlovskiy LADA Sport Lukoil Lada 1m06.069s 1.748s
16 TC1 Dusan Borkovic NIS Petrol by Campos Racing Chevrolet 1m06.147s 1.826s
17 TC1 Rene Munnich All-Inkl.com Munnich Motorsport Chevrolet 1m06.210s 1.889s
18 TC2 Franz Engstler Liqui Moly Team Engstler BMW 1m08.028s 3.707s
19 TC2 John Filippi Campos Racing SEAT 1m08.693s 4.372s
20 TC2 Filipe Souza Liqui Moly Team Engstler BMW - -
- TC2 Michael Soong Campos Racing SEAT 1m11.443s 7.122s

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