Andy Priaulx claimed his first pole position of the season in today's qualifying session for this weekend's World Touring Car round at Pau.
The triple world champion pulled a spectacular lap out of the bag in the final segment of qualifying to overhaul fellow BMW driver Augusto Farfus's own outstanding effort by just 0.011s and secure the top spot.
Both drivers found half a second's improvement over there pace in Q1 and finished up half a second clear of the rest of the field.
"It's been a long 18 months since I was last on pole, and it was a long 18 months so I'm really pleased," said Priaulx. "It's been a long hard struggle for us at BMW. You turn up at a race and say that qualifying is everything. Then when you've qualified well you say that's only quarter of the job done. We've got a lot of work to do tomorrow, we need to win both races to claw back the massive deficit in the championship."
Tom Coronel will start third after an excellent qualifying effort in his independent SUNRED SEAT Leon. The Dutchman was quickest of all after the first runs in Q2, but lost out to the BMW pair late in the session.
Jorg Muller will join Coronel on the second row, just a fraction ahead of Rob Huff in the first of the Chevrolets. Huff's team-mates Alain Menu and Nicola Larini will start tomorrow's first race from sixth and seventh places after all three Cruzes made it through to Q2 for the first time. Sergio Hernandez was the fourth of the works BMWs to make it to Q2 and will start eighth, with independent runners Felix Porteiro and Franz Engstler sharing the fifth row.
All five factory SEATs failed to make it through to the second segment of qualifying, the quickest of them being Rickard Rydell in 15th place. Jordi Gene, Gabriele Tarquini and Yvan Muller line up behind Rydell, with Tiago Monteiro 21st.
Pos Driver Car Time
1. Andy Priaulx BMW 1m22.462s
2. Augusto Farfus BMW 1m22.473s
3. Tom Coronel SEAT 1m22.917s
4. Jorg Muller BMW 1m23.051s
5. Robert Huff Chevrolet 1m23.097s
6. Alain Menu Chevrolet 1m23.128s
7. Nicola Larini Chevrolet 1m23.282s
8. Sergio Hernandez BMW 1m23.649s
9. Felix Porteiro BMW 1m24.176s
10. Franz Engstler BMW 1m24.442s
11. Alex Zanardi BMW 1m23.806s
12. Stefano D'Aste BMW 1m23.807s
13. Marin Colak SEAT 1m23.815s
14. Mehdi Bennani SEAT 1m23.929s
15. Rickard Rydell SEAT 1m24.118s
16. Jordi Gene SEAT 1m24.284s
17. Gabriele Tarquini SEAT 1m24.506s
18. Yvan Muller SEAT 1m24.552s
19. Laurent Cazenave BMW 1m24.621s
20. Eric Cayrolle SEAT 1m24.742s
21. Tiago Monteiro SEAT 1m24.874s
22. Jaap van Lagen Lada 1m24.925s
23. Kristian Poulsen BMW 1m25.280s
24. Tom Boardman SEAT 1m25.299s
25. Kirill Ladygin Lada 1m25.457s
26. Viktor Shapovalov Lada 1m26.054s