Title contender Gabriele Tarquini took a well-timed third pole position of the season at the Oschersleben after defying bad weather conditions to emerge on top of an unusual looking World Touring Car grid.

Having been a factor during free practice, the re-emergence of rain just as the first phase of qualifying got underway prompted a mad dash to complete quick initial laps, with drivers realising there would be no chance to improve later on.

It meant those emerging with the ten best times from their first attempts would go on to battle it out for pole position in the ensuing shootout.

Unsurprisingly, there were casualties, most notably championship leader Yvan Muller, who was forced to settle for a lowly 17th on the grid, while Andy Priaulx in 15th, Alain Menu in 19th and Jordi Gene in 22nd signalled further disappointments.

On the flip side, there were some surprising faces battling it out for the top ten positions, including Independent Trophy driver Marin Colak and Lada's Jaap Van Lagen, the Dutchman destined to score the Russian manufacturer's best grid slot of the season.

As it happens, a drying circuit provided further excitement as the quickest laps were set in the closing stages, with Tarquini emerging on top with a time almost two seconds faster than his nearest competitor,

That competition came from Colak, the Croatian putting in an outstanding performance to secure a spot on the front row of the grid driving his Team Ingra SEAT Leon.

Almost as impressive was Van Lagen, who went on to place his Priora - the first time he has driven the car this year - fourth on the grid alongside the second SEAT Sport Leon of Rickard Rydell.

It was enough for him to out-qualify Chevrolet pair Nicola Larini and Rob Huff, while Jorg Muller, Augusto Farfus and Alex Zanardi completed the top ten.

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