Championship leader Gabriele Tarquini has secured his third straight World Touring Car Championship pole position after qualifying for the penultimate round of the year at Okayama.

The Italian, who takes a seven point lead into the Japanese race weekend, edged out BMW pair Andy Priaulx and Jorg Muller by less than a tenth of second to snare a fifth pole of the season, with title rival Yvan Muller down in seventh place.

Tarquini's best lap of 1min 37.666secs to steal pole from Jorg Muller on his final lap of the top-ten shootout, with the German driver then being demoted to third by Priaulx; the former champion falling just 0.050secs of putting his BMW at the head of the field.

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In a session where all the quick times came at the end, Rickard Rydell slotted into fourth place ahead of Augusto Farfus, with the remainder of the SEAT works cars - Jordi Gene, Muller and Tiago Monteiro - filling places six through to eight. Chevrolet pair Rob Huff and Alain Menu rounded out the top ten.

Sergio Hernandez was the best of the drivers not to make it through to the top ten after falling a tenth of a second short in Q1, while Independents' pole man Tom Coronel - a winner in Japan last season - lines up alongside him on the grid after qualifying in twelfth place.

James Thompson was quickest of the LADA drivers in 13th place while Nobuteru Taniguchi was the quickest guest driver at the wheel of his Proteam-entered BMW in 18th.