Huff races to Salzburg pole
Robert Huff will start the first of Sunday’s two WTCC races at the Salzburgring from his first pole position of the season, after setting the fastest time with less than a minute remaining on the clock.
Huff’s first pole position of the 2012 season, with a lap time of 1:26.791, headed an all-Chevrolet top three, with Yvan Muller in second (1:26.933) and Alain Menu third (1:26.961).
Alex MacDowall will start as the first of the Yokohama Trophy competitors from fifth on the grid in his bamboo-engineering Cruze, another boost for the Chevrolet team.
The drivers sought to benefit from the aerodynamic ‘tow’ from other cars on the long straights at the Salzburgring.
All three Chevrolet drivers took turns to lead their team-mates around the 4.2km circuit, with Muller eventually topping the time-sheets ahead of Menu and Huff, while MacDowall made it an all-Chevrolet top four.
The tight chicane at Turn 1 caused problems for several drivers, with Tom Coronel spinning his BMW on his fourth lap.
With just over three minutes remaining, the red flags came out after the Ford Focus of Tom Chilton made contact with Franz Engstler’s BMW at T5, for which Chilton later apologised.
James Nash missed the cut for Q2 by only 0.015 seconds.
Team tactics were once again employed by the three factory Chevrolet drivers, allowing each to benefit from the slipstream of his colleagues in turn.
Menu was initially quickest, but with seconds remaining Huff and Muller both eked out slender advantages to complete the session with another Chevrolet 1-2-3.
Gabriele Tarquini, who has been feeling unwell all weekend, will start as the best non-Chevrolet driver from fourth on the grid (1:27.490) ahead of MacDowall, Tiago Monteiro (1:27.808), Stefano D’Aste (1:27.927), Pepe Oriola (1:28.122), Tom Coronel (1:28.124) and Aleksei Dudukalo (1:28.317).
Thanks to the reversed grid, it will be the SEAT Leon of Dudukalo that will start Race 2 from pole position.