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Full grid published – Nykjær on pole

Photo by FIA WTCC MediaDane Michel Nykjær and Brit James Nash will share the front row of the grid for Round 9 of the World Touring Car Championship at the Salzburgring, after a plethora of penalties were applied post-qualifying.

Nykjær originally qualified in fifth, whilst Nash was originally tenth. The duo are promoted to the front row of the grid after they were the only two drivers from Q2 who were not penalised following the sport’s most farcical qualifying session.

Occupying the second row of the grid are Proteam’s Mehdi Bennani and LADA’s Mikhail Kozlovskiy – with the young Russian scoring his and his team’s best-ever starting position in the WTCC as a result.

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Following the qualifying debacle, WTCC promoter Marcello Lotti hit out at the drivers for going so slowly, all because they did not want to be the driver leading the pack and providing a slipstream to those following.

“There is an article in the International Sporting Code that says it is not permitted to drive too slowly and without any reason – reason means a technical reason or a yellow flag,” explained Lotti. “This is what happened; all those drivers were driving around the track at 46kph. It’s really too slow!

“There will be no changes to the Race 2 reverse grid as all the penalties refer to Race 1. Some journalists have criticised the track and said that in some way the track was at fault. Absolutely not – the track layout is perfect and is probably the best of the traditional touring car circuits. In any case, the track is fully licenced by the FIA.”

The full Round 9 grid:

1. Michel Nykjær 5th None None
2. James Nash 10th None None
3. Mehdi Bennani 13th None None
4. Mikhail Kozlovskiy 14th None None
5. Fredy Barth 15th None None
6. Franz Engstler 16th None None
7. Marc Basseng 17th None None
8. James Thompson 19th None None
9. Charles Kaki Ng 20th None None
10. René Münnich 21st None None
11. Fernando Monje 22nd None None
12. Alex MacDowall 4th +8 €3,000
13. Yvan Muller 1st +12 €3,000
14. Rob Huff 3rd +10 €1,000
15. Tom Chilton 2nd +12 €3,000
16. Stefano D’Aste 11th +5 €1,000
17. Darryl O’Young 18th +5 €1,000
18. Pepe Oriola 8th +16 €6,000
19. Tom Coronel 12th +15 €4,000
20. Hugo Valente 23* +5 €3,000
21. Gabriele Tarquini 6th** +24 €6,000
22. Tiago Monteiro 7th** +12 €3,000
23. Norbert Michelisz 9th** +12 €3,000
* All qyalifying times were disallowed for technical infringement.
** All Honda drivers were sent to the back of the grid for having a non-conforming rear wing.
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