Giovanardi on Pole at Imola

Alfa Romeo's Fabrizio Giovanardi will start from pole position in the first of tomorrow's two FIA World Touring Car Championship races at Imola

Giovanardi on Pole at Imola

The Italian three-times European Champion returned to form on home soil to secure his first pole position of the season with a lap over half a second better than anyone else could manage.

Spaniards Antonio Garcia (BMW) and Jordi Gene (SEAT) made it three different manufacturers in the top three on the grid before the next two Alfas, driven by Augusto Farfus and Gabriele Tarquini, rounded out the top five.

BMW's Andy Priaulx was the top Briton with sixth best time, while Alfa's James Thompson could only manage 10th best and SEAT's Jason Plato 13th.

Tarquini and Priaulx set their times despite carrying the biggest success ballast weights, with the Italian's Alfa carrying a 55kg burden and the Guernseyman's BMW 40kg. Giovanardi and Gene, by contrast, are only running 5kg above base weight and Garcia 15kg.

Points leader Dirk Muller (+35kg) was ninth fastest in his BMW with teammate Jorg Muller (+30kg), who is third in the Championship table behind Tarquini, only 14th best.

FIA WTCC at Imola - Qualifying Result:

Pos  Driver               Make                 Time             Laps
 1.  Fabrizio Giovanardi  Alfa Romeo 156       1:58.573            8
 2.  Antonio Garcia       BMW 320i             1:59.159 + 0.586   11
 3.  Jordi Gene           SEAT Toledo Cupra    1:59.317 + 0.744    9
 4.  Augusto Farfus Jr.   Alfa Romeo 156       1:59.377 + 0.804    7
 5.  Gabriele Tarquini    Alfa Romeo 156       1:59.594 + 1.021    9
 6.  Andy Priaulx         BMW 320i             1:59.630 + 1.057   10
 7.  Roberto Colciago     Honda Accord Euro R  1:59.659 + 1.086   11
 8.  Peter Terting        SEAT Toledo Cupra    1:59.670 + 1.097    6
 9.  Dirk Muller          BMW 320i             1:59.685 + 1.112   10
10.  James Thompson       Alfa Romeo 156       1:59.685 + 1.112   10
11.  Rickard Rydell       SEAT Toledo Cupra    1:59.716 + 1.143    9
12.  Adriano De Micheli   Honda Accord Euro R  1:59.721 + 1.148   11
13.  Jason Plato          SEAT Toledo Cupra    2:00.186 + 1.613    8
14.  Jorg Muller          BMW 320i             2:00.283 + 1.710   10
15.  Alessandro Zanardi   BMW 320i             2:00.319 + 1.746   12
16.  Alessandro Balzan    SEAT Toledo Cupra    2:00.341 + 1.768   10
17.  Carl Rosenblad       BMW 320i             2:00.479 + 1.906    9
18.  Alain Menu           Chevrolet Lacetti    2:00.550 + 1.977   12
19.  Stefano D'aste       BMW 320i             2:00.689 + 2.116   10
20.  Nicola Larini        Chevrolet Lacetti    2:00.871 + 2.298   10
21.  Tom Coronel          Seat Toledo Cupra    2:01.036 + 2.463   12
22.  Robert Huff          Chevrolet Lacetti    2:01.072 + 2.499   11
23.  Giuseppe Ciro        BMW 320i             2:01.108 + 2.535   11
24.  Salvatore Tavano     Alfa Romeo 156       2:01.189 + 2.616   12
25.  Thomas Klenke        Ford Focus           2:01.259 + 2.686   11
26.  Marc Hennerici       BMW 320i             2:01.526 + 2.953    9
27.  Thomas Jager         Ford Focus           2:02.042 + 3.469   11
28.  Andrea Larini        Alfa Romeo 156       2:02.110 + 3.537   10
29.  Gianluca De Lorenzi  BMW 320i             2:02.336 + 3.763    6
30.  Stefano Valli        BMW 320i             2:02.639 + 4.066   12
31.  Carlos Mastretta     Seat Toledo Cupra    2:02.806 + 4.233   13
32.  Sascha Ploderl       Ford Focus ST170     2:05.418 + 6.845    5
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