Qualifying: Rydell's first pole for Volvo

Rickard Rydell scored Volvo's first pole position of the season in the FIA European Touring Car Championship finale at Estoril in Portugal

Qualifying: Rydell's first pole for Volvo

Rydell set the pace from the start of the session, and was straight into the 1m48s bracket, which the opposition simply could not match.

"We've been close a lot of times [to pole position] this year and we're really happy with the car," he said. "We are losing some time in a straight line, but there are a lot of corners around here. The balance is very good, and we have found quite a lot on the set-up since Friday. If I can get a gap tomorrow, then I'll be all right, but if there is someone behind me coming on to the main straight, then I'll struggle."

Champion elect Fabrizio Giovanardi (Alfa Romeo 156) was the best of the rest, the six-time touring car champion over three-tenths shy of Rydell's 1m48.734s flyer.

"My lap was not very fast because I made a mistake," he said. "Although I've won the championship, I will still push hard and I want to win. We also have to work to get Nicola [Larini] second place in the championship."

Tom Coronel was the highest of the BMWs, the Dutchman's Carly-Isert 320I lapping in 1m49.092s, just a fraction slower than Giovanardi. Coronel's final attempt to better his time failed when he slid into the Turn 7 gravel trap.

"I was surprised on my first lap by the speed and grip I had," he said. "Then on my second run I just spun, it was my mistake. I don't think I could have got pole, though, because I had used the best from my tyres."

Larini will start fourth in the second works Alfa, ahead of the BMW pack of Jorg Muller (Schnitzer), Duncan Huisman (Carly-Isert), Fredrik Ekblom (RBM) and Fabrizio de Simone (Ravaglia). Britons Tom Ferrier (Alfa), James Hanson (Volvo) and Robert Collard (Nissan) will start from ninth, 14th and 16th respectively.


Rickard Rydell, Volvo S60, 1m48.734s
Fabrizio Giovanardi, Nordauto Alfa Romeo 156 Gta, 1m49.088s
Tom Coronel, Carly-Isert BMW 320I, 1m49.092s
Nicola Larini, Nordauto Alfa Romeo 156 Gta, 1m49.101s
Jorg Muller, Schnitzer BMW 320I, 1m49.324s
Duncan Huisman, Carly-Isert BMW 320I, 2m49.477s

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