– Yvan Muller has stormed into pole position today, a clear second ahead of the field
– With a time of 2:28.933s, Muller sets new WTCC track record & claims first pole here
– Tom Chilton recovers from a big shunt in the morning’s practice session to qualify a solid P7
– RML Cruzes run with gold celebratory livery to mark championship success in 2010, 2011, 2012 & 2013
MACAU – Friday 15 November 2013: Yvan Muller has smashed the records in today’s FIA World Touring car Championship qualifying session on the infamous streets of Macau, claiming his maiden pole position in the former Portuguese enclave.
Dominated by red flags and recovery cranes, qualifying was off to a chaotic start but the early pace from the Chevrolet Cruzes would continue as Muller took advantage in Q1.
Tom Chilton’s earlier incident in the morning’s practice session had caused significant damage, but with two hours separating FP2 and qualifying, the RML crew ensured Chilton would be out and in good competitive form for the challenge that lay ahead.
Two red flags would disrupt Q1 and with Chilton yet to set a competitive time, the Aon-backed Briton had an anxious wait in 21st. By restart the RML duo worked in sync as the quickest man on track and four-time WTCC champion, Muller led the way with team-mate extracting maximum slipstream advantage.
Now into P13, Chilton had yet to secure his Q2 outing and with less than 4 minutes remaining on the clock following a third red flag, the Shanghai victor managed to cut through in P10 – enough to guarantee the Q2 shoot out.
Into the final qualifying session and as Muller’s dominant pace continued, the Frenchman improved yet again, obliterating his own personal best to set a blistering time of 2:28.933s – the only man to dip below 2:29 – claiming a new WTCC track record and unbelievably, his first pole on the streets of Macau.
A relieved Chilton secured P7 and will be focussed on the front end of the grid as he lines up for Sunday’s opening race.
“The car feels great to drive around here. That wasn’t easy at all! It’s been a really busy session and the track is such a challenge – it’s enjoyable of course, but I’m glad not every track is like this! Big thanks to my team and my engineer – I couldn’t have taken pole without them so we are all really pleased with this and now look forward to Sunday.”
Tom Chilton: “First thank you so much to my team, RML, for getting the car ready. They literally built a whole new car for me in less than 3 hours. It kept our championship alive as we got into Q2.
“After my first lap in Q2, it was good enough for P5 but unfortunately I knew I wouldn’t stay there as I didn’t have a second set of new tyres left – we had to use them up in Q1.
“My position on the grid means we are still on track for P3 in the standings and hopefully, with a little luck, I may still challenge for P2. There’s still much to play and of course, anything can happen in Macau.”