Yvan Muller and Gabriele Tarquini, both 2008 WTCC title pretenders, played the leading roles in the qualifying session of the last WTCC meeting held today at the urban racetrack of Macau.
The two SEAT drivers have chances to clinch the title but only one of them can actually become the champion. With their large experience on this track, they both knew that a good qualifying is essential, since starting from the mid-field is a huge conditioner for any expectation to win.
Yvan Muller took the best part since he clocked the fastest time which he defended until the last minute of the session, when suddenly Alain Menu and Andy Priaulx took the top two positions setting Yvan back to third. The French driver is therefore in a more comfortable situation than Gabriele Tarquini.
The Italian driver went also flat out looking for a privileged position on the grid, but a braking mistake sent his car against the safety fences. The car could not continue, although it will be ready for the race, but Gabriele was not able to do better than eight. Gené finished sixth, Rydell, who will be fighting to be third overall in the championship, was seventh and Monteiro twelfth.
The races in Macau will be staged next Sunday from 05.05 a.m. CET and will give SEAT the second world title of the season.
Yvan Muller: ‘It is true, I’m in a good position but I want to be prudent until everything is over. Anything is possible in Macau but I’m happy for this result which gives me a better position than Gabriele. But his doesn’t change my plans and I want to be focussed on finishing both races in the best possible position’.
Gabriele Tarquini: ‘It’s a shame. The car was working very well and after I made the first try for a fast lap, I started for the second but was too optimistic while braking. The front wheel blocked and I crashed against the fences. It hasn’t been a good qualifying although I tried to give the best as always. But mistakes are expensive here. My chances are smaller now but I’ll be fighting for the championship until the last minute’.”