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Gabriele Tarquini takes 15th pole in Portugal

Gabriele Tarquini has taken his second pole position of the 2012 season and the 15th of his career in commanding style during qualifying for the World Touring Car Championship races in Portugal.

Click here for the full qualifying results.

SEAT Tuenti Racing Team youngster Pepe Oriola will start the final European race of the campaign from Pole Position after setting the tenth fastest time in the second part of qualifying.

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The opening twenty minute session saw the ROAL Motorsport BMW 320TC of Tom Coronel set the first flying lap before Chevrolet’s Rob Huff and Zengo Motorsport’s Norbert Michelisz better the Dutchman’s effort.

Tarquini soon backed up his free practice pace by moving to the top of the times, just before the red flags came out due to the stricken Team Aon Ford Focus of Tom Chilton.

The British driver had hit a kerb which broke the front left suspension and he stopped out at turn five. The biggest loser from the red flag was the second SEAT Tuenti Racing Team driver, Tiago Monteiro who had put his SUNRED SR Leon 1.6T into seventh.

Once the session restarted, a number of the drivers stayed in the pits, while the Portuguese driver returned to the track and posted the ninth best time.

At the end of the session, Tarquini, Muller, Huff, Alain Menu in the third Chevrolet, Michelisz, Oriola, Alberto Cerqui, Coronel, Monteiro, Mehdi Bennani, Alexey Dudukalo and Gabor Weber had made it into Q2.

James Thompson in the LADA finished 17th fastest after power steering issues meant that he struggled throughout while Salzburgring winner Stefano D’Aste finished 16th. The two Team Aon cars brought up the rear of the pack, with James Nash out qualifying Chilton.

Tarquini was soon setting the pace again in the ten minute Pole Position shootout and his first flying attempt was enough to secure him his second Pole Position of the season in the Lukoil Racing Team SEAT Leon.

Muller secured second with the Yokohama Independents’ pole position going the way of Michelisz.

Huff left his only attempt until the end of the session and he moved up from P12 to P4, while Coronel finished the session fifth fastest.

Cerqui, Weber – a career best seventh – Monteiro, Menu and Oriola rounded out the top ten while 11th and 12th went to Bennani and Dudukalo.

Muller has extended his Championship advantage to ten points over Huff while Michelisz has made sixth in the Championship more secure with his third place in qualifying and lead Independent on the grid.

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