The World Touring Car Championship is to bring in a new qualifying format for the 2009 season similar to the one already seen in Formula One.

The change was announced following the latest meeting of the FIA World Motor Sport Council and the new system will be brought into play for the opening rounds of the new campaign in Brazil in March.

Under the new rules, qualifying will run for 30 minutes and will be split into two segments. Q1 will last for 20 minutes with all drivers taking to the track, while Q2 will last for ten minutes and will take place after all cars have returned to the pits for a five minute break.

Only the ten quickest drivers from Q1 will progress to Q2, with their times being reset ahead of the ten-minute shootout. The times set during Q2 will then decide the starting order of the top ten, with the remainder of the grid lining up in the positions decided in Q1.

On street circuits such as Pau and Macau, the session will be expanded to 45 minutes, with Q1 running for 30 minutes and Q2 then running for 15 minutes.

The grid rules for race two will remain the same, with the starting order being decided by the race one results with the top eight drivers reversed.

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