Muller & Chilton deliver first RML 1-2 in qualifying for opening race

Muller rewrites history with blistering lap record of 1:56.486

RML team-mates display flawless qualifying performance amidst hectic session

MONZA (Italy) – Saturday 23rd March: Yvan Muller and Tom Chilton have stormed ahead to claim RML Group’s first 1-2 of the 2013 season in today’s qualifying session at Monza, with Muller on pole and Chilton sharing the front row of the grid for the first of tomorrow’s two races.

Amidst a hectic session which included a red flag recovery and a scattering of collisions, new pairing Muller and Chilton proved they had fine-tuned their Chevrolet Cruzes’ to perfection as the duo continued their early morning dominance from the practice sessions. Topping the timesheets and with blistering pace, Muller blitzed the record books with a scorching pole time of 1:56.486s.

Not to be outdone Chilton put in the second fastest time on a 1:57.354s lap and locked out the front row of the grid – a hugely impressive performance by the Briton in his first qualifying session with the team.

And whilst Muller may have seen his topping of the timesheets as something of a ‘pleasant surprise’, there were also strong performances for RML’s customer teams, with Bamboo Engineering’s Alex MacDowall taking 3rd, team-mate James Nash 6th and Nika Racing’s Michel Nykjaer rounding out the group in 7th.

Yvan Muller: “I am so happy. Three weeks ago we didn’t know if we would be here, and now pole position! This is our first collaboration with Lukoil and Aon and I want to thank them all, and RML – well done boys.”

Having expected tough competition from his rivals, Muller added, “I am a little surprised by Honda’s pace. But let’s wait and see, for now we will take the advantage.”

Tom Chilton: “That was mega! There was a little bit of carnage out there but luckily nothing that interrupted my session too heavily so I was able to fully maximise on getting the lap times down. The car feels great and I feel immediately at home in it. As Yvan has said, I’d expected a little more trouble from the Hondas but it just shows how competitive the Cruze is. Of course we hope we keep this advantage for a while yet, but who knows what they have planned for development. Right now I am just really looking forward to tomorrow. We’re going into the race from the best possible position and I am feeling very positive.”

Ron Hartvelt, Project Supervisor: “That’s a fantastic result! The team have done a great job today and our hard work has really paid off. It’s immensely satisfying to come here and lead from the top for the first race, something which, frankly, we didn’t expect. Yvan and Tom have been quick from the get go and very consistent throughout the sessions. They work really well together already and complement each other through their team work. And special mention to Tom – he’s jumped in the car, new to everything with this team, and has just pulled out probably one of his best qualifying performances of his touring car career so we’re all really excited about how tomorrow unfolds. And credit to the other teams with RML designed and built Cruzes too – we’ve been here since the championship started in 2005 and to see five of our Cruzes in the top seven grid slots, that’s something special.”



Qualifying Results

1. Yvan Muller RML Chevrolet 1m56.486s

2. Tom Chilton RML Chevrolet 1m57.345s + 0.859s

3. Alex MacDowall Bamboo Chevrolet 1m57.685s + 1.199s

4. Pepe Oriola Tuenti SEAT 1m57.833s + 1.347s

5. Gabriele Tarquini Honda 1m57.946s + 1.460s

6. James Nash Bamboo Chevrolet 1m58.005s + 1.519s

7. Michel Nykjaer NIKA Chevrolet 1m58.172s + 1.686s

8. Marc Basseng Munnich SEAT 1m58.518s + 2.032s

9. James Thompson Lada 1m58.669s + 2.183s

10. Darryl O’Young ROAL BMW 1m58.781s + 2.295s

11. Fernando Monje Campos SEAT 1m58.814s + 2.328s

12. Stefano d’Aste PB BMW 2m00.475s + 3.989s

13. Franz Engstler Engstler BMW 1m59.046s Q1

14. Tom Boardman Special Tuning SEAT 1m59.116s Q1

15. Tiago Monteiro Honda 1m59.155s Q1

16. Aleksei Dudukalo Lada 1m59.303s Q1

17. Tom Coronel ROAL BMW 1m59.386s Q1

18. Mehdi Bennani Proteam BMW 1m59.685s Q1

19. Rene Munnich Munnich SEAT 1m59.978s Q1

20. Fredy Barth Wiechers BMW 2m00.090s Q1

21. Norbert Michelisz Zengo Honda 2m00.799s Q1

22. Charles Ng Engstler BMW 2m00.901s Q1

23. Jean-Philippe Dayraut Anome BMW 2m00.957s Q1

24. Rob Huff Munnich SEAT

Sunday 24th March

09:30-10:00 Warm up Eurosport 2 – Live
14:45-15:45 Race 1 Eurosport 2 – Live
17:00-18:00 Race 2 Eurosport 1 – Live

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