Sonoma WTCC: Tom Chilton claims maiden pole by beating Yvan Muller

Tom Chilton earned the first pole of his World Touring Car Championship career after knocking RML Chevrolet team-mate Yvan Muller from top spot at the death at Sonoma

Sonoma WTCC: Tom Chilton claims maiden pole by beating Yvan Muller

It had been Muller who held the advantage in Q1 and again after the first set of flyers in Q2, with his 1m45.708s more than three tenths better than his rivals could manage.

Chilton began his final flyer just before the chequered flag came out however, and an outright best in the first sector helped him to prevail by just over one tenth of a second.

The Briton had in some ways been lucky simply to be out in Q2, having only narrowly avoided contact with the Turn 2 barriers after slewing off track late on in Q1.

Honda will line up on the second row through Tiago Monteiro, who spoiled a Chevrolet top-three lockout by beating Pepe Oriola to third.

Bamboo duo Alex MacDowall and James Nash will share the third row, making it five Chevrolets in the top six.

Norbert Michelisz beat defending champion Rob Huff to seventh, but will start from the back of the grid after an engine change in his Zengo-run Honda.

Muller's closest title rivals, Michel Nykjaer and Gabriele Tarquini, shared the fifth row in qualifying but will both gain one spot following Michelisz's penalty.

Tarquini had to abandon his first Q2 run and also had several lairy moments on his final attempt, but did just enough to edge out Mehdi Bennani and Marc Basseng in the fight for 10th, and with it race two's reverse-grid pole.

Bennani and Basseng had both secured their Q2 spots in the final moments, bumping BMW men Tom Coronel and Freddy Barth out.

The latter pair both missed out by less than one tenth of a second, with Coronel ruing traffic that spoiled his best lap and left him with a "disaster" of a grid position.

James Thompson was Lada's best representative in 18th. He missed the Q2 cut by six tenths of a second.

Pos  Driver              Team/Car             Time       Gap
 1.  Tom Chilton         RML Chevrolet        1m45.583s
 2.  Yvan Muller         RML Chevrolet        1m45.708s  +0.125s
 3.  Tiago Monteiro      Honda                1m46.240s  +0.657s
 4.  Pepe Oriola         Tuenti Chevrolet     1m46.266s  +0.683s
 5.  Alex MacDowall      Bamboo Chevrolet     1m46.411s  +0.828s
 6.  James Nash          Bamboo Chevrolet     1m46.565s  +0.982s
 7.  Norbert Michelisz   Zengo Honda          1m46.648s  +1.065s
 8.  Rob Huff            Munnich SEAT         1m46.659s  +1.076s
 9.  Michel Nykjaer      Nika Chevrolet       1m46.668s  +1.085s
10.  Gabriele Tarquini   Honda                1m46.865s  +1.282s
11.  Mehdi Bennani       Proteam BMW          1m46.919s  +1.336s
12.  Marc Basseng        Munnich SEAT         1m47.711s  +2.128s
13.  Tom Coronel         ROAL BMW             1m47.038s  Q1
14.  Fredy Barth         Wiechers BMW         1m47.078s  Q1
15.  Darryl O'Young      ROAL BMW             1m47.126s  Q1
16.  Hugo Valente        Campos SEAT          1m47.145s  Q1
17.  Franz Engstler      Engstler BMW         1m47.277s  Q1
18.  James Thompson      Lada                 1m47.583s  Q1
19.  Stefano D'Aste      PB BMW               1m47.637s  Q1
20.  Charles Ng          Engstler BMW         1m47.892s  Q1
21.  Fernando Monje      Campos SEAT          1m48.025s  Q1
22.  Mikhail Kozlovskiy  Lada                 1m48.070s  Q1
23.  Rene Munnich        Munnich SEAT         1m48.279s  Q1
24.  Tom Boardman        Special Tuning SEAT  1m48.530s  Q1
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Sonoma WTCC: Yvan Muller edges Norbert Michelisz in practice two
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Sonoma WTCC: Tom Chilton claims first victory

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