Yvan Muller made the perfect start the defence of his World Touring Car Championship crown, but the Frenchman refused to get too carried away despite setting the pace at Curitiba.

Muller was quickest through the first phase of the new-look qualifying session to secure his slot in the top-ten shootout and then headed a SEAT train that locked-out the first five positions on the grid.

At one point, Muller led the way by nearly half a second after a stunning early lap in the ten minute long session but he admitted it was the results on race day that would matter.

"Of course I'm very happy for the way the season has started," he said. "Pole position is always good, but we have to see tomorrow what happens in the races. I found the new qualifying system very exciting. Afer my first lap in Q2 I said myself: wow! This could be good for the pole. But I was not sure until the end."

Muller was followed on the times by Spaniard Jordi Gene and he admitted that he had found the new-look qualifying to be more stressful than the traditional sessions it replaced.

"The new qualifying system has changed everything," he said. "You don't have time to work on the set up now. You have to go and try to find a clear lap straight away and twice: first in Q1 and then in Q2. It is much more stressing than it was before."

Unlike rivals BMW and Chevrolet, SEAT elected to send its drivers out onto the track en-masse in an effort to get a tow along the long start finish straight, and team boss Jaime Puig was pleased to see the strategy pay off.

"All team members know that our big aim is the manufacturers' championship and therefore we quickly agreed to let all drivers onto the track in several organised series so each of them would have at least one chance to get a good result," he said. "We did it, so we are well positioned to fight for the victory in the first race."



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