Gabriele Tarquini will start Sunday's first World Touring Car race in Morocco from pole position after topping qualifying this afternoon
The reigning champion's place at the front was cemented when Michel Nykjaer crashed his SEAT Leon at the final chicane and brought Q2 to an early end.
Tarquini will share the front row with Rob Huff, who posted his best time of the weekend in his Chevrolet Cruze just moments before Nykjaer's accident.
The SEATs of Jordi Gene and Tiago Monteiro will share row two, ahead of Yvan Muller's Chevrolet. The SEATs of Nykjaer, Tom Coronel and Fredy Barth qualified sixth, seventh and eighth, with Franz Engstler leading the independents' class in ninth despite an accident at the last corner cutting his session short.
Norbert Michelisz will start 10th after he crashed at the end of Q1 and was unable to take part in Q2. The Hungarian slid his SEAT Leon into a wall just seconds after claiming the top spot in Q1.
Alain Menu was the first big hitter to fall out of qualifying, when he crashed his Chevrolet Cruze at the final chicane. He was in the top 10 at the time but was pushed down to 13th by the end of Q1.
The BMWs of Augusto Farfus and Andy Priaulx also failed to make it through to Q2. They were lying 11th and 12th in the final minute of Q1 and were both on quick laps when Michelisz's crash prevented them both from finishing.
Local hero Mehdi Bennani was cheered vociferously by the partizan crowd and will start his home race in 16th place.
Pos Driver Car Q1 Q2 1. Gabriele Tarquini SEAT 1m46.626s 1m45.830s 2. Rob Huff Chevrolet 1m46.662s 1m46.364s 3. Jordi Gene SEAT 1m46.675s 1m46.375s 4. Tiago Monteiro SEAT 1m47.601s 1m46.696s 5. Yvan Muller Chevrolet 1m46.891s 1m46.705s 6. Michel Nykjaer SEAT 1m46.942s 1m46.751s 7. Tom Coronel SEAT 1m47.139s 1m47.044s 8. Fredy Barth SEAT 1m46.899s 1m48.027s 9. Franz Engstler BMW 1m47.541s 1m48.994s 10. Norbert Michelisz SEAT 1m46.437s no time 11. Augusto Farfus BMW 1m47.616s 12. Andy Priaulx BMW 1m47.752s 13. Alain Menu Chevrolet 1m47.761s 14. Stefano D'Aste BMW 1m48.252s 15. Sergio Hernandez BMW 1m48.556s 16. Mehdi Bennani BMW 1m48.854s 17. Harry Vaulkhard Chevrolet 1m49.028s 18. Darryl O'Young Chevrolet 1m49.313s 19. Andrey Romanov BMW 1m51.014s 20. Ismail Sbai Chevrolet 1m53.195s
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