Alain Menu managed to beat his Chevrolet-team mate Yvan Muller by only 28 thousandths of a second and has emerged as the fastest one on the field during the qualifying run letting him claim pole position for the race at Shanghai.
Norbert Michelisz created a surprise by posting the third fastest lap in his BMW, which demoted championship co-leader Rob Huff to fourth while Colin Turkington put in a solid performance as he qualified fifth on his first appearance at the wheel of a Chevrolet Cruze, an RML car run by Dick Bennett’s West Surrey Racing. Another newcomer, Fredy Barth, claimed a place in Q2 driving the SEAT Swiss Racing car.
Meanwhile, Tiago Monteiro did not repeat the miracle of Suzuka and failed to qualify his Honda Civic for Q2, despite another last gasp attempt.
During the race day Rob Huff walked away from Shanghai as the new point leader with a total of 390 points, making him only two races away from being awarded as the Champion for the 2012 FIA World Touring Car Championship.
Huff claimed one second place during the first race and then won the second one benefitting from the collision between his Chevrolet team-mates Alain Menu and Yvan Muller.An incident that almost terminated their hopes to keep on fighting until the last finish line.
Winning the first race in China, Menu had managed to reduce his gap to 25 points and was set to further close it, as he was leading the second race. When Muller hit him in an attempt of overtaking, Menu slipped down to third, while the Frenchman was later punished by the Stewards with a time penalty that dropped him out of the points.
This gave Huff a solid margin, although both Menu and Muller are still kept in contention by the numbers, because they now lie 35 and 41 points behind, with 55 still to be awarded.
The championship will resume for the final races at Macau on November 18.