– Muller and Chilton lock out front row
– 13 drivers subsequently penalised from Q1 and Q2
– Indiscretions Reshuffled grid ensures a challenging day tomorrow for RML
On a day of unprecedented drama among the stunning Austrian scenery, RML team mates Yvan Muller and Tom Chilton drove superbly to qualify on Pole and P2 respectively for round 9 or the 2013 World Touring Car Championship.
The red and white Aon and Lukoil branded Cruzes dominated the morning practice sessions and carried that performance into qualifying.
Whilst Tom Chilton set the initial pace with a blistering lap, Championship leader, Yvan Muller made a couple of uncharacteristic errors as he explored the limits of the RML Cruze, forcing the French star to run a second set of tyres to ensure qualification into Q2. All looked on target until the flying Muller was forced to take drastic avoiding action as no fewer than 10 cars blocked the track as they drove slowly trying to jostle for track position. Despite this the RML Cruze still set 3rd fastest time to move into Q2.
This session started in normal fashion with the closely matched RML team mates both now settled firmly at the top of the times, over 0.5sec ahead of 3rd placed Seat of Rob Huff.
As the cars left the pitlane for the final shootout, what followed can only be described as a failure of brinkmanship and gamesmanship over sporting performance as the majority of the field failed to improve on their lap time through failing to start their flying lap. As Chilton and Muller cruised in the case of the unlikely need to improve, car upon car lined up behind the cruising Cruzes, with inexplicable disregard for the need to improve.
Needless to say, the Stewards were less than impressed and have penalised 13 drivers through grid penalties and fines.
WTCC Project Manager, Ron Hartvelt “As we felt we already held a dominant position our priority was to preserve our tyres, particularly in view of the failures here last year. Accordingly we sought neither to control nor impede any other car and we watched with surprise that no one overtook to try another timed lap. In the circumstances we feel the penalties to both Yvan and Tom are most unfortunate but have to respect the decision and get on with the show. Tomorrow will be a tough day but we will be ready for the challenge.”
Qualifying 2 – Provisional classification
1. Y Muller RML Cruze 1:25.756
2. T Chilton RML Cruze 1:25.961
3. R Huff SEAT Leon 1:26.554
4. A MacDowell Bamboo Cruze 1:26.560
5. M Nykjaer Nika Cruze 1:26.654
6. G Tarquini Honda Civic 1:26.701
7. T Monteiro Honda Civic 1:26.746
8. P Oriola SEAT Leon 1:26.887
9. N Michelisz Honda Civic 1:26.902
10. J Nash Bamboo Cruze 1:26.938