Kent:Andy Priaulx led the field out of the pit lane at the start of Saturday's qualifying session for round nine of the WTCC season at Brands Hatch.
However, the reigning champion struggled on his home track and will start the first of Sunday's two races from tenth place on the grid.
Another Briton, James Thompson, set the early pace with his Alfa Romeo 156.
Having topped the time sheets in both of the day's two free practice sessions, Thompson moved into provisional first place with a lap time of one minute, 33.032 seconds.
Yvan Muller claimed provisional third place with a time of one minute, 33.255 seconds.
But the Frenchman would drop down to fifth by the end of the session, one place behind fellow Seat Leon driver Tiago Monteiro.
The Portuguese driver grabbed fourth on the grid with a time of one minute, 33.202 seconds.
Colin Turkington is making his WTCC debut this weekend and the Ulsterman made a lasting impression on Saturday.
The BMW driver went second fastest in the day's first practice session before moving into provisional second place in qualifying with a time of one minute, 33.082 seconds.
Alain Menu will start Sunday's race from first place on the grid though. The Frenchman steered his Chevrolet Lacetti to the day's fastest lap time of one minute, 33.018 seconds with just over one and a half minutes left in the session.
The Chevrolet engineers watched anxiously as the final seconds of qualifying ticked away, but the rest of the field were unable to better Menu's mark and he claimed pole position for the fourth time this season.