British WTCC driver James Thompson will start on pole position for race two in the season opener of the 2015 World Touring Car Championship on his debut in the all-new LADA Vesta TC1 car.

Thompson was able to put his LADA Vesta P10 during qualifying with a lap of 1m 50.165s, meaning that when the reversed grid line-up takes effect for race two, the English driver will begin from the front. The achievement is all the more impressive considering it is the car's first ever competitive outing.

"I am delighted to put the LADA Vesta on the pole position on its debut, it will be a proud moment when we line up for the start in front of the worlds' eyes" said Thompson. "I lacked the outright pace in my car that was displayed in Robert Huff's as we are still working on a variety of teething problems to be expected with a brand new racing car but I am full of optimism for the races and season ahead based on what we have seen so far."

Although it was delight for Thompson, it was a frustrating qualifying for his team-mate and countryman Robert Huff. The Brit had looked the more competitive out of the two all weekend and was midway through a quick lap during Q2 when his progress was halted after Mehdi Bennani binned his Citroen car into a gravel trap, bringing out red flags.

Huff had topped the Q1 qualifying times and was looking like an outside contender for a Q3 slot but after returning to the pits for Bennani's forced stoppage the LADA Vesta picked up a problem and was unable to set a competitive time. As a result he will begin both races in P11.

The British driver admitted he had mixed emotions at the end of qualifying but remains positive about Sunday's races.

"I haven't felt this good about a race car I've driven since I won the WTCC World Championship (in 2012)," Huff said. "We clearly had the pace and the team have done a truly excellent job to design build and deliver this machine for me to drive. We could have been at the very front for race 1 if luck had stayed with us but I know what we have for the future is a tremendous prospect and I will start to deliver on this promise in the races tomorrow."



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