Yvan Muller claimed his second World Touring Car pole position of the season as the RML Chevrolet team locked out the first three places on the grid for Sunday morning's opening race at the Hungaroring
Muller relegated team-mate and title challenger Rob Huff to the outside of the front row on his final flying lap of the decisive second qualifying session. The triple world champion enjoyed a 0.267-second pole margin, having earlier outpaced Huff by a similar margin to top the timesheets in Q1.
"It wasn't a bad lap, but not perfect either," said Huff. "I was quite surprised when I saw my lap-time. I was hoping that was going to be enough for pole - but (Yvan) has done it again. As Chevrolet is one-two-three we can protect each other a little at the start tomorrow. What anyone else decides to do on the approach Turn 1, on the grass or whatever, is up to them, but hopefully we can keep it together."
The third factory Cruze of Alain Menu was the final competitor to set a representative lap-time. Menu aborted his initial Q2 run as the Swiss felt it was insufficient to topple Huff's provisional pole effort, and his final attempt at repeating his 2011 Hungaroring pole position was scuppered by the presence of Franz Engtsler's Team Engstler BMW travelling slowly on the racing line in the third sector.
"My last lap was going well, as I was slightly up on Yvan at the end of the second sector," said Menu. "Unfortunately, I found Engstler on an in-lap, and although I was flashing my lights he just stayed right on the racing line. I am very disappointed. However, Yvan did a very good lap. I am not sure if the traffic cost me pole, but it certainly cost me second."
Fastest in free practice two, Gabriele Tarquini's Lukoil SEAT took fourth ahead of a strong effort from the singleton Proteam BMW of Moroccan Mehdi Bennani.
Pole winner in Slovakia, Zengo Motorsport's Norbert Michelisz put himself in contention for a strong points haul in front of home fans by qualifying sixth.
Former grand prix driver Tiago Monteiro dropped two places from his Q1 effort, ending the afternoon seventh aboard his Tuenti Racing Leon.
Special Tuning's Darryl O'Young confirmed his competitive practice pace to take eighth ahead of the second Tuenti entry of independents' points leader Pepe Oriola (Tuenti SEAT). Engstler was 10th and will therefore start from pole for race two.
The anticipated maiden outing of the Lada Granta Sport was cut short by reliability gremlins. James Thompson was able to complete one flying lap in Q1 before coming to a stop at Turn 5. The former British Touring Car champion was fleetingly ninth, before being demoted to 16th in a still encouraging debut.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Yvan Muller Chevrolet 1m54.503s 2. Robert Huff Chevrolet 1m54.770s + 0.267s 3. Alain Menu Chevrolet 1m54.993s + 0.490s 4. Gabriele Tarquini Lukoil SEAT 1m55.074s + 0.571s 5. Mehdi Bennani Proteam BMW 1m55.205s + 0.702s 6. Norbert Michelisz Zengo BMW 1m55.322s + 0.819s 7. Tiago Monteiro Tuenti SEAT 1m55.362s + 0.859s 8. Darryl O'Young Special Tuning SEAT 1m55.768s + 1.265s 9. Pepe Oriola Tuenti SEAT 1m55.841s + 1.338s 10. Franz Engstler Engstler BMW 1m55.953s + 1.450s 11. Alex MacDowall bamboo Chevrolet 1m56.096s + 1.593s 12. James Nash Arena Ford 1m56.791s Q1 13. Alberto Cerqui ROAL BMW 1m56.347s Q1 14. Charles Ng Engstler BMW 1m56.387s Q1 15. Stefano D'Aste Wiechers BMW 1m56.434s Q1 16. James Thompson Lada Granta Sport 1m56.527s Q1 17. Gabor Weber Zengo BMW 1m56.542s Q1 18. Aleksei Dudukalo Lukoil SEAT 1m56.544s Q1 19. Tom Coronel ROAL BMW 1m56.625s Q1 20. Pasquale di Sabatino bamboo Chevrolet 1m56.702s Q1 21. Tom Chilton Arena Ford 1m57.415s Q1 22. Tom Boardman Special Tuning SEAT 1m57.890s Q1 Race two grid: 1. Franz Engstler Engstler BMW 2. Pepe Oriola Tuenti SEAT 3. Darryl O'Young Special Tuning SEAT 4. Tiago Monteiro Tuenti SEAT 5. Norbert Michelisz Zengo BMW 6. Mehdi Bennani Proteam BMW 7. Gabriele Tarquini Lukoil SEAT 8. Alain Menu Chevrolet 9. Robert Huff Chevrolet 10. Yvan Muller Chevrolet 11. Alex MacDowall bamboo Chevrolet 12. James Nash Arena Ford 13. Alberto Cerqui ROAL BMW 14. Charles Ng Engstler BMW 15. Stefano D'Aste Wiechers BMW 16. James Thompson Lada Granta Sport 17. Gabor Weber Zengo BMW 18. Aleksei Dudukalo Lukoil SEAT 19. Tom Coronel ROAL BMW 20. Pasquale di Sabatino bamboo Chevrolet 21. Tom Chilton Arena Ford 22. Tom Boardman Special Tuning SEAT
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