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Gabriele Tarquini heads Honda 1-2-3 in qualifying

Gabriele Tarquini took his and Honda’s second pole position of the 2013 World Touring Car Championship season in Slovakia, heading team-mate Tiago Monteiro and Zengő’s Norbert Michelisz.

Click here for the full qualifying results.

Qualifying was delayed for 30 minutes in Q1 when ROAL Motorsport’s Darryl O’Young had a big crash. It meant that it took more than half the session before competitive times were posted, with the Honda’s of Tarquini and Monteiro once again fastest, heading the order in Q1.

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Tarquini’s pole is the 17th of his WTCC career and moves him further clear at the top of the qualifying records table, despite being around 0.4 seconds slower than he had gone in Q1. Monteiro and Michelisz were just over a tenth slower than the Italian in Q2, with Michelisz overcoming a fire in practice to take his best qualifying result of the season.

“It was a great result for the team,” said Tarquini after qualifying. “To be first with three cars is something unbelievable! We never dreamed to be 1-2-3 in qualifying so it’s a fantastic feeling.

“Unfortunately I made some mistakes which meant I cannot repeat my fantastic time of Q1, but fortunately it was enough to be at the front.”

RML’s Yvan Muller will start race one from fourth, ahead of team-mate Tom Chilton. Alex MacDowall was sixth fastest in his bamboo-run Chevrolet.

Rob Huff was the top SEAT racer in seventh, ahead of James Nash in eighth. Nash had looked set to post a faster time until he was held up by slower drivers in Q2.

Pepe Oriola qualified ninth, ahead of the top BMW of ROAL’s Tom Coronel in tenth, with the duo set to start race two from the front row.

Mehdi Bennani (11th) and Michel Nykjær (12th) missed out on the grid reversal in Q2, with Nykjær running wide into the gravel on his only flying lap in Q2.

Marc Basseng was the top driver to miss the Q2 cut in 13th – the first time the German has failed to make it into the second part of qualifying since making his WTCC début.

There were also problems for Special Tuning Racing’s Tom Boardman, who failed to set a time due to electrical problems on his SEAT. It means that he will start from the back of the grid, having earlier received a 5-place grid penalty for changing his engine in the morning.

Warm-up for Round 5 of the 2013 WTCC takes place at 08:45 CEST (07:45 GMT) on Sunday, with Round 5 at 14:50 CEST (13:50 GMT).

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