Points leader Yvan Muller said he was thrilled to secure the final pole position of the European leg of the World Touring Car Championship at Monza.
The Frenchman was able to benefit from the extra torque and power of the diesel engine in the SEAT Leon TDi, as well as the slipstreaming effect of the SEAT drivers working together to take pole position.
Muller posted a best time of 1min 59.213secs at the wheel of the #12 car which saw him edge out team-mate Gabriele Tarquini by just 0.044secs and he admitted his delight at securing top spot on the times.
“I'm pleased with the pole position today, and also with all that teamwork,” he said. “All four cars got round with great times, and there were no mistakes; we did a great job. It feels great to be on pole for the rolling start because you earn it in qualifying.
“It is far too early to think about the championship as we still have six races to go, including tomorrow. I am just thinking about winning the first race here, and the question is really… which one of us will win!”
Muller led a train of SEAT cars on the times as the diesel cars locked out the front two rows of the grid, with Jordi Gene and Rickard Rydell third and fourth quickest.
However, with the four cars together at the front of the field, second placed Tarquini admitted it would be vital for the SEAT men not to fall over each other at the start of the race into the tight opening chicane.
“It is always better to be on pole, but I aim for a good position for the first race,” he said. “The manufacturer's championship is important so this is a great result for SEAT and we must take advantage and score many points. It is hard to make a strategy for the start, I will just try to stay safe and stay away from my team mates. If we can all lead away from the field and stay together that will be great, but we don't want to be in the middle as we go into that first chicane, that would be a nightmare. I had a problem of my final lap so maybe that was the reason I didn't get pole.”