With Jorg Muller handed a ten place penalty for indiscretions at Spa, James Thompson will start the opening race of the World Touring Car Championship meeting at Oschersleben from pole position - although the Brit is expecting a tough time on race day.

The Alfa Romeo driver put problems during the free practice sessions to one side to go second fastest in qualifying, just under two tenths off the pace of Muller's BMW, but will now start from top spot - with team-mates Augusto Farfus and Gabriele Tarquini also starting from inside the top four.

However Thompson admitted that the German races won't be easy.

"I'm very happy and have to thank the team because after free practice I had a problem with the car and they worked hard to get me ready for qualifying," the defending BTCC champion said. "I managed to sneak in a good time right at the end. Myself, Augusto and Gabriele all have similar weights and are relatively light. The circuit here becomes very dirty and it is difficult not to make a mistake. The race can be a very different proposition than qualifying and I think it is going to be very difficult."

Farfus is also expecting a difficult race, with the Brazilian believing it will be vital for the front-wheel drive cars to start well to fight off the challenge of the rear-wheel drive BMWs.

"I start in second place and aim to get a good start to be up there with James," he said. "The focus here is to get maximum points so we can finish in the top five of the championship. Tomorrow we will have two long races and I predict the front wheel drive cars will be faster at the beginning, but in the middle and the end the BMWs will come through.

"If I make a good start I am in the fight for a win."



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