Rob Huff has secured his first pole position in the World Touring Car Championship after setting the pace in qualifying at Oschersleben.
The Chevrolet man posted a time of 1min 35.675secs which was good enough to break the qualifying lap record at the German circuit and secure his position at the head of the field ahead of points leader Gabriele Tarquini.
Huff set a provisional fastest time early in the session as he dipped below 1min 36secs, but Tarquini, last year's polesitter, bettered the time just before the British driver went out for his final attempt. However, the Chevrolet driver hooked up the car for a lap where he extended the lead through each sector, eventually finishing nearly two tenths ahead of Tarquini's SEAT Leon TDi.
“I'm obviously very happy, it feels fantastic!” he said. “I knew I had to do a very special lap after Tarquini had taken the pole from my earlier lap. Chevrolet has always struggled here, but this is such a competitive championship it is often down to the qualifying. So it is a bit of a surprise really.
“For the pole it was all or nothing, we knew we had second place tied up so we could really go for it. My championship fight is pretty much over so it is important for us to concentrate on wins, points and pole positions. Today the car worked well and my final run on the new tyres was very special.”
Fellow SEAT Sport driver Tiago Monteiro took third position, with SUNRED's Tom
Coronel in fourth place. However, Coronel was later stripped of his times with his car failing to restart after being stopped at the weigh scales after the session.
That promoted Nicola Larini into fourth place ahead of Augusto Farfus and Jordi Gene, with Alain Menu and Andy Priaulx rounding out the top eight.
Despite finishing the session with his car embedded in the tyre wall at turn ten, Exagon's Pierre-Yves Corthals took the pole for the Independents' class, three thousands of a second ahead of title rival Sergio Hernandez.
“I am very pleased with the pole,” Corthals said. “The team changed the set up of the car so that we were able to go faster. The championship is very close and I am going to try to win this weekend.”
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