SEAT used slipstreaming to full effect at Monza to allow points leader Yvan Muller to take pole for the final European round of the World Touring Car Championship.
The SEAT drivers elected to run in a train throughout the session, swapping positions continuously to allow each driver to try and secure the best lap possible around the high-speed Italian venue.
Such was the strong performance of the SEAT squad, its drivers locked out the front two rows of the grid, with the top four being the only men to break the two minute marker.
Muller's pole lap of 1min 59.213secs was just enough to edge Gabriele Tarquini out of a home pole, while Jordi Gene and Rickard Rydell took third and fourth. With the extra torque of the diesel Leon, it now remains to be seen how the rest will take the challenge to the Leons on race day.
Augusto Farfus had been the man to beat during free practice, but BMW was unable to match the pace of its big rivals during qualifying with the Brazilian having to settle for fifth place, with his quickest time being some eight tenths of a second away from pole. Farfus was followed on the times by Chevrolet pair Nicola Larini and Alain Menu, while Andy Priaulx, Rob Huff and Tiago Monteiro rounded out the top ten.
The BMW drivers had lost out on their first run of the session after Kirill Ladygin went off in his Lada on his out lap and brought out the yellow flags, with Alex Zanardi, Felix Porteiro and Jorg Muller all missing out on the top ten, while Imola race winner James Thompson was 13th.
Of the Independents, Pierre-Yves Corthals was quickest in eleventh overall, half a second clear of Sergio Hernandez after stealing a two from his BMW rival to launch himself up the order.
Amongst the various newcomers for the weekend, Manabu Orido in his Chevrolet Lacetti was the quickest, qualifying in 20th place.