Priaulx ends pole drought in Japan

Andy Priaulx ended a four-year pole position drought in the World Touring Car Championship by going quickest in qualifying at Okayama

Priaulx ends pole drought in Japan

The three-time world champion took full advantage of a switch to a sequential gearbox - and the resultant 30kg weight reduction - to lap the circuit in 1m36.972s, the best lap of the weekend so far.

Priaulx, who lies second in the championship, beat his RBM BMW team-mate Augusto Farfus to the top spot by four tenths of a second. Alain Menu was the best of the Chevrolet drivers in third.

Series returnee Colin Turkington, who had never even seen the Okayama circuit before Friday, was a surprise pace-setter in Q1 in his WSR BMW, but slipped to fourth in Q2.

Behind him Norbert Michelisz took a career-best fifth spot in his Zengo-Dension SEAT, one place ahead of world champion Gabriele Tarquini's SR-Sport machine.

Tarquini only made it into Q2 thanks to a banzai last-lap effort that took him from 13th to sixth in Q1, but did manage to outqualify series leader Yvan Muller, with the Frenchman's Chevrolet team-mate Alain Menu in between them.

Michael Rossi was a superb ninth on his championship debut in his SR-Sport SEAT while Franz Engstler was the best independent competitor in 10th, three places clear of his nearest rival, Darryl O'Young (Bamboo Chevrolet), and nine clear of points leader Sergio Hernandez (Proteam BMW).

Tom Coronel, quickest in final practice, was a major disappointment as the Dutchman could only qualify his SR-Sport SEAT 17th.

Pos Driver Car Q1 Q2 1. Andy Priaulx BMW 1m37.623s 1m36.972s 2. Augusto Farfus BMW 1m37.455s 1m37.408s 3. Rob Huff Chevrolet 1m37.690s 1m37.441s 4. Colin Turkington BMW 1m37.264s 1m37.495s 5. Norbert Michelisz SEAT 1m37.707s 1m37.577s 6. Gabriele Tarquini SEAT 1m37.725s 1m37.727s 7. Alain Menu Chevrolet 1m37.805s 1m37.844s 8. Yvan Muller Chevrolet 1m37.767s 1m37.913s 9. Michael Rossi SEAT 1m37.809s 1m38.387s 10. Franz Engstler BMW 1m37.786s 1m38.605s 11. Tiago Monteiro SEAT 1m37.904s 12. Michel Nykjaer SEAT 1m37.904s 13. Darryl O'Young Chevrolet 1m38.056s 14. Robert Dahlgren Volvo 1m38.128s 15. Kristian Poulsen BMW 1m38.156s 16. Fredy Barth SEAT 1m38.171s 17. Tom Coronel SEAT 1m38.190s 18. Stefano D'Aste BMW 1m38.540s 19. Sergio Hernandez BMW 1m38.728s 20. Yukinori Taniguchi Chevrolet 1m38.747s 21. Andrei Romanov BMW 1m39.098s 22. Yoshihiro Ito BMW 1m39.584s 23. Mehdi Bennani BMW 1m39.883s 24. Nobuteru Taniguchi BMW 1m39.891s 25. Masataka Yanagida BMW 1m39.927s 26. Kevin Chen BMW 1m39.997s 27. Henry Ho BMW 1m40.681s 
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