The session then ended in drama as Thompson smashed into the back of d'Aste's stationary car, while Alex Zanardi and Nicola Larini narrowly missed out on Q2 appearances. Tom Coronel was the fastest independent, taking 13th on the grid followed by rival Felix Porteiro, in 14th, and local man Andre Couto, in 16th.
Within five minutes of Q2 getting underway, Tarquini and Muller had crashed too. The pair were in close contact when they encountered oil left from Thompson's earlier smash and were sent spinning. The cars were both too damaged to continue, and Tarquini and Muller joined Thompson in being taken to hospital for a check-up.
Menu was running behind the SEAT duo and also sustained damage. Although the Chevrolet team tried to make the Cruze trackworthy in time, the Swiss veteran could not clock a lap before the chequered flag fell.
Then, as night was falling, Huff completed a lap of 2min 32.141secs that relegated Priaulx and Farfus to second and third, while Gené took fourth ahead of Monteiro and Müller.
Qualifying results remain suspended pending the Data Logging System checks and fuel analysis, results of which will be available tomorrow morning.
Medical examinations for Thompson, Tarquini and Muller all came back clear and the three drivers were discharged, but will need to be checked again by the FIA doctor on Saturday before being cleared for racing on Sunday.