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Alain Menu secures Chinese pole position

Alain Menu ensured that the 100th celebrations for Chevrolet got off to the perfect start after securing Pole Position for the opening race of the weekend at the Tianma circuit in Shanghai, ahead of team-mate Rob Huff, while the third title contender, Yvan Muller, wound up seventh after running wide at the final corner on his final flying lap.

Huff managed to secure himself Pole Position for the second race of the weekend, having judged the timings and conditions to perfection, while Muller lines up fourth and Menu back in eighth.

Qualifying for Race 1 – Menu takes second consecutive pole.

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Qualifying for Race 2 – Huff benefits from grid reversal.

The first twenty minutes of qualifying saw the times constantly changing and the first driver to top the times was Wiechers-Sport BMW 320TC of Colin Turkington. Just before the red flags were brought out for the beeched BMW 320TC of Charles Ng, who had gone off at turn one, Liqui Moly Team Engstler’s Kristian Poulsen topped the times.

When the session was stopped due to the car of Ng, it was Proteam Racing’s Javi Villa who led the way from Poulsen, Turkington and Proteam Racing’s Mehdi Bennani, while the top title contender was Huff, who was down in sixth.

Once the track went live once again, the times continued to tumble and with twelve and a half minutes left on the clock, Yokohama Independents points leader Poulsen went back on top of the times.

Lukoil-SUNRED’s Gabriele Tarquini was the first driver to duck below the 1m10 mark as he topped the times having set a 1m09.214s but as the track dried, the positions continued to change and the three Championship leaders were all outside the top ten.

With two and a half minutes of the session remaining, Tarquini went back to the top of the times, before being demoted to third by firstly Turkington then Fredy Barth in the SEAT Swiss Racing with SUNRED.

At the end of the session, Huff had secured himself Pole Position having finished tenth fastest while Suzuka winner Tom Coronel in the ROAL Motorsport BMW 320TC topped the times and thus will line up tenth.

Having topped the times earlier in the session, Villa found himself outside the top ten in twelfth while Robert Dahlgren also failed to get into Q2 as he misjudged the conditions and lines up thirteenth.

The top ten shootout saw the three works Chevrolets all head out as soon as the session went live and they soon topped the times, with Menu ahead of Muller and Huff.

Turkington was soon getting involved with the Chevrolets and bettered Menu’s time by 0.054s as he topped the times provisionally.

The times continued to change as Huff moved into provisional Pole Position, while Norbert Michelisz was having an impressive run in the Zengo-Dension Motorsport BMW 320TC and he moved into P3, just behind Turkington.

Menu then went back to the top of the times and secured his fourth Pole Position of the season, ahead of Huff, Turkington and Michelisz, while Muller couldn’t improve on his seventh position having gone wide and into the turn twelve gravel trap on his final run of the session.

Tarquini finished the session fifth fastest, with Coronel sixth and the top ten was completed by Tiago Monteiro, Pepe Oriola and Frady Barth, who takes a five place grid penalty for an engine change, thus promoting Poulsen to tenth on the grid.

Three drivers finished outside the qualifying maxima – the two normally aspirated cars of Phillip Ma and Fabio Fabiani and Ng. All three drivers will have to appeal to the stewards to take the start of the two races.

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