Nicky Catsburg claims provisional pole position in Argentina

Nicky Catsburg claims provisional pole position in Argentina

Nicky Catsburg
Photo: Francois Flamand / DPPI

Polestar’s Nicky Catsburg took pole position in qualifying for the World Touring Car Championship in Argentina, although he remains under investigation after going off the circuit at the end of his Q3 lap.

Catsburg was faster throughout all three sectors on his Q3 run, but the Dutchman ran wide off the circuit at the end of his lap, albeit technically after having crossed the start / finish line.

As a result, Catsburg’s pole is provisional as he is under investigation by the stewards, having beaten Honda’s Norbert Michelisz to the top time by just 0.184 seconds.

“The start / finish line is very close to the exit of the last corner,” explained Catsburg of his lap. “I knew that I didn’t have to stay on the track after the finish line so I just kept on pushing and maybe that was the difference!

“[The car] felt fantastic – already this morning we immediately felt that the car feels really good and really strong and throughout the day we only made slight improvements and got pole position, so it’s not too bad!”

Championship leader Tiago Monteiro was third fastest, and thus eked out a slightly larger lead by two points at the top.

Campos Racing’s Esteban Guerrieri put in an impressive effort to make it through to Q3 in his Chevrolet and then go fourth, repeating his Q3 breakthrough on his WTCC début in 2016.

The third Polestar S60 of Argentine ace Néstor Girolami just missed out on Q3, ending up sixth fastest, ahead of the leading Citroën of Sébastien Loeb Racing’s Mehdi Bennani and team-mate Tom Chilton in seventh and eighth.

Honda’s Ryo Michigami put in his best qualifying performance of the year in ninth, but the Japanese driver will start the Opening Race from the back of the grid anyway due to having received a penalty for an engine change on his Civic between practice and qualifying.

RC Motorsport’s Yann Ehrlacher qualified in tenth and will therefore start the reverse-grid Opening Race from the front row of the grid.

The third Sébastien Loeb Racing car of John Filippi was 11th, whilst ROAL Motorsport’s Tom Coronel was 12th, having been more than two seconds off the pace.

The biggest surprise in Q1 was Münnich Motorsport’s Rob Huff failing to get through to Q2 for the first time this season, with the Brit complaining of issues with new brakes costing him and leaving him to start from 13th.

Zengő Motorsport’s Dániel Nagy and WTCC newcomer Zsolt Szabó were 14th and 15th respectively, whilst the second RC Motorsport LADA of Kevin Gleason was the slowest driver in the field in 16th, the American being almost three seconds off the pole time.

MAC3

A poor start from Honda’s Michigami dictated the rest of the Japanese marque’s performance, as the three factory drivers put in a two-lap combined time of 3 minutes 49.487 seconds.

When Polestar took to the track it was Catsburg who headed up the trio and the Swedish manufacturer put in a much more competitive display with a time which ended up being 15.602 seconds faster than Honda, taking more than four seconds in the first sector of the first lap alone.

It marks Polestar Volvo’s fifth win out of six MAC3 sessions so far this season.

Q3 results

POSNOCLDRIVERNATENTRANTCARLAPSTIMEGAP
163Nicky CATSBURGPolestar Cyan RacingVolvo S60 Polestar31:43.0880.000
25Norbert MICHELISZHonda Racing Team JASHonda Civic WTCC31:43.2720.184
318Tiago MONTEIROHonda Racing Team JASHonda Civic WTCC31:43.4790.391
486TEsteban GUERRIERICampos RacingChevrolet RML Cruze TC131:43.7040.616
562Thed BJÖRKPolestar Cyan RacingVolvo S60 Polestar31:43.7150.627

Q2 results

POSNOCLDRIVERNATENTRANTCARLAPSTIMEGAP
163Nicky CATSBURGPolestar Cyan RacingVolvo S60 Polestar51:43.0850.000
25Norbert MICHELISZHonda Racing Team JASHonda Civic WTCC51:43.1350.050
362Thed BJÖRKPolestar Cyan RacingVolvo S60 Polestar51:43.3620.277
418Tiago MONTEIROHonda Racing Team JASHonda Civic WTCC51:43.3880.303
586TEsteban GUERRIERICampos RacingChevrolet RML Cruze TC151:43.5850.500
661Néstor GIROLAMIPolestar Cyan RacingVolvo S60 Polestar51:43.6900.605
725TMehdi BENNANISébastien Loeb RacingCitroën C-Elysée WTCC51:44.0620.977
83TTom CHILTONSébastien Loeb RacingCitroën C-Elysée WTCC51:44.2991.214
934Ryo MICHIGAMIHonda Racing Team JASHonda Civic WTCC41:44.4001.315
1068TYann EHRLACHERRC MotorsportLADA Vesta WTCC51:44.8031.718
1127TJohn FILIPPISébastien Loeb RacingCitroën C-Elysée WTCC51:44.8701.785
129TTom CORONELROAL MotorsportChevrolet RML Cruze TC151:45.3572.272

Q1 results

POSNOCLDRIVERNATENTRANTCARLAPSTIMEGAP
163Nicky CATSBURGPolestar Cyan RacingVolvo S60 Polestar81:43.4480.000
262Thed BJÖRKPolestar Cyan RacingVolvo S60 Polestar81:43.6370.189
35Norbert MICHELISZHonda Racing Team JASHonda Civic WTCC61:43.7470.299
418Tiago MONTEIROHonda Racing Team JASHonda Civic WTCC61:43.8180.370
561Néstor GIROLAMIPolestar Cyan RacingVolvo S60 Polestar81:43.8790.431
686TEsteban GUERRIERICampos RacingChevrolet RML Cruze TC161:43.9130.465
725TMehdi BENNANISébastien Loeb RacingCitroën C-Elysée WTCC71:44.5071.059
83TTom CHILTONSébastien Loeb RacingCitroën C-Elysée WTCC71:44.5941.146
968TYann EHRLACHERRC MotorsportLADA Vesta WTCC81:44.7461.298
109TTom CORONELROAL MotorsportChevrolet RML Cruze TC181:44.7791.331
1134Ryo MICHIGAMIHonda Racing Team JASHonda Civic WTCC41:44.9101.462
1227TJohn FILIPPISébastien Loeb RacingCitroën C-Elysée WTCC81:45.0391.591
1312TRob HUFFALL-INKL.COM Münnich MotorsportCitroën C-Elysée WTCC81:45.1781.730
1499TDániel NAGYZengő Motorsport KftHonda Civic WTCC81:45.9192.471
1566TZsolt Dávid SZABÓZengő Motorsport KftHonda Civic WTCC91:46.0792.631
1624TKevin GLEASONRC MotorsportLADA Vesta WTCC91:46.4322.984