ETCC S'Touring qualifying: Tarquini bags pole

Gabriele Tarquini took his second European Touring Car Championship Super Touring pole of the season at Silverstone on Saturday, as series leader Nicola Larini failed to complete a lap of qualifying due to gearbox failure

ETCC S'Touring qualifying: Tarquini bags pole

Tarquini (JAS Honda Accord) left it late to record his best lap, a 1m54.384s which demoted longtime pole sitter Fabrizio Giovanardi (Nordauto Alfa Romeo 156). Giovanardi had set his quick lap early and helplessly watched the pit lane timing monitors, where he saw Tarquini beat his time.

"It's strange to be back in Britain," said Tarquini. "It's quite a home for me here. I'm really 'appy with pole position. I think the potential of the Alfa is very close to my car, so I expect they'll be back tomorrow. I also expected more from Matt Neal, I thought he would be closer."

Giovanardi, who ended the session in second, said: "I don't know the circuit that well, and I felt it was important to keep some new tyres for the race. I'm really 'appy to start from the front row. We did a really good job."

Frenchman Fabrice Walfisch was third quickest in his most convincing Super Touring performance to date in the second JAS-run Honda.

"It's a real present to be third," he said. "I was waiting for this for quite a while and I've been improving all the time. We found some good changes for the car and it all went very well."

Not going so well was Nicola Larini, whose Alfa Romeo ground to a halt on the circuit on its out lap from the pits with gearbox problems. He will start the first race tomorrow (Sunday) from the back of the grid, although the reverse grid for the second race could play into his hands.

BTCC refugee Matt Neal could only manage fourth in his Nissan Primera after all-but-matching Tarquini's pace setting Honda during the free practice sessions. He blamed Italian female Romana Bernadoni's Nordauto Alfa, which has been rebuilt following its Magny-Cours somersault, for balking him on his quickest lap.

Neal will start ahead of Magny-Cours winner Roberto Colciago's Audi A4 Quattro and Sandro Sardelli's PRO Motorsport-run Nissan.

1 Gabriele Tarquini (Honda Accord) 1m54.384s
2 Fabrizio Giovanardi (Alfa Romeo 156) 1m54.537s
3 Fabrice Walfisch (Honda Accord) 1m55.146s
4 Matt Neal (Nissan Primera) 1m55.404s
5 Roberto Colciago (Audi A4 Quattro) 1m55.852s
6 Sandro Sardelli (Nissan Primera) 1m56.051s


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