Citroën’s Yvan Muller says he is pleased to have scored pole position in qualifying for the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) races in Russia, and stresses the importance of getting off to a good start on Sunday.
Muller took his second pole position of the season ahead of team-mate José María López, but having also started in first in Hungaroring and lost the lead before the first corner, the Frenchman knows he must get a strong start in race one.
“To be on pole position is always important – now I need to do a good start in the race tomorrow,” said Muller. “Of course I’m pleased – my lap was good, there was no real mistake, probably a thousandth of a second here or there but generally over the whole [lap] I was generally quite pleased.”
Muller took pole by a mere 0.046 seconds, and admits that the time difference to points leader López is negligible, with the Argentine driver having also been less than a tenth ahead of Muller in Q2.
“It shows the level of championship when the lap time is so tight. It means to be on the top you need to make no mistakes. The difference [in time] is nothing but fortunately it was enough for me to be on pole.”
Yves Matton, Citroën Racing Team Principal, expected the qualifying session to be one of the closest of the season, and is pleased to see Citroën being joined by all three other manufacturers in Q3 for the first time.
“As we expected, today’s qualifying session was the closest of the season so far,” said Matton. “The compensation weights system is bearing fruit, as all four TC1 models competing in the FIA WTCC were represented in Q3 for the first time
“The team progressed nicely through the sessions and our drivers showed their class to monopolise the front row of the starting grid. The gap between Yvan and Pechito [López] shows the intensity of their sporting rivalry.”