The fact that the Argentine was visiting the track for the first time seemed no disadvantage whatsoever for Lopez, who beat team-mates Sebastien Loeb and Yvan Muller by over three and six tenths of a second respectively to secure a Citroen 1-2-3.
Norbert Michelisz and Gianni Morbidelli took fourth and fifth, allowing Honda and Chevrolet RML to be represented in Q3.
“It’s always great to be on pole, I didn’t expect this here to be honest, but I tried my best and everything went well," said Lopez. "The car was just great and I thank the team for this."
Q1 cast an unusual ranking, with ten cars within eight tenths and Michelisz leading over Valente, Muller, Coronel and Tarquini.
Things though changed in Q2, where Lopez took control in a session that was red-flagged because of an incident that involved Tarquini, who was forced to stop on track after his front bonnet became loose and obscured his windscreen.
By virtue of their 10th and 9th position in Q1, Monteiro and Valente will be in first row for Race 2, while the BMW cars of Engstler and Di Sabatino dominated qualifying among TC2 cars once again.
"It was quite a tense session and I feel happy to be in second," said Loeb. "This is a beautiful track, where I have raced in GT and therefore I know, but it remains a difficult track: because it is quite flat, it’s easy to make mistakes in corners and braking points."
- Sports & Recreation
- Sebastien Loeb
- Yvan Muller
- Gianni Morbidelli