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José Maria López storms to dominant Hungaroring pole position

Even with 80 kilograms of ballast, Citroën Racing’s José Maria López would take a dominant first World Touring Car Championship pole position of 2016 for Sunday’s main race at the Hungaroring.

The Argentinian two-time champion took pole position in by over sixth tenths of a second in the Q3 shootout, ahead of ROAL Motorsport’s Tom Coronel, who takes his first front row start since the TC1 category’s introduction.

Honda Racing’s Rob Huff and Slovakiaring winner Tiago Montiero made it a Honda 3-4, with Polestar Cyan Racing’s Thed Björk carrying good form into qualifying from topping the second free practice session. Björk will start from the back of the grid for race one, as a result of his enforced engine change penalty.

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The four-time STCC champion will start from fifth on the grid, ahead of local hero Norbert Michelisz, who missed out on the shootout by 0.248 seconds.

Nicky Catsburg again featured as the best of the LADA Sport ROSENEFT drivers, as the Dutchman will start from seventh on the grid ahead of Yvan Muller, who was struggling with his Citroën C-Elysée WTCC. Muller was also close to being eliminated in the early goings, after he moved ahead of LADA’s Hugo Valente, who will start from 13th place.

The top ten were rounded out by Frederik Ekblom and Sébastian Loeb Racing’s Mehdi Bennani, who takes pole position for the first race of the weekend.

Tom Chilton would miss out on race one pole position by 0.081 seconds from the Moroccan, whilst initial race weekend pace setter, LADA’s Gabriele Tarquini could only muster 12th place, having only gone out for one lap in Q2.

Grégoire Demoustier appeared to struggle with his Citroën as well, as the Frenchman outbraked himself in the tight infield section, and will start 14th, behind John Fillipi from Campos Racing, who was looking toward a top ten in Q1, which could have forced Muller out of the running.

In MAC3, Citroën Racing took the win from Honda, as López, Muller and Bennani were 0.177 seconds faster over their two laps than Michelisz, Huff and Monteiro. The French outfit are currently under investigation by race control, but the reason behind the investigation has not yet been disclosed.

The LADA Sport trio of Catsburg, Valente and Tarquini would end up third, 1.316 seconds behind Citroën, with Valente appearing to be under investigation for a jumpstart, as well as him swapping places with Catsburg in the initial stages of the Russian manufacturer’s run.

Race one starts at 14:18 local time (13:18 British Summer Time)

Top ten times

1 37 José María LÓPEZ Citroën Total WTCC Citroën C-Elysée WTCC 3 1:46.109
2 9 Tom CORONEL ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1 3 1:46.718 0.609
3 12 Rob HUFF Honda Racing Team JAS Honda Civic WTCC 3 1:46.833 0.724
4 18 Tiago MONTEIRO Honda Racing Team JAS Honda Civic WTCC 3 1:46.895 0.786
5 62 Thed BJÖRK Polestar Cyan Racing Volvo S60 WTCC 3 1:46.980 0.871
The following times are from Q2
6 5 Norbert MICHELISZ Honda Racing Team JAS Honda Civic WTCC 5 1:46.597 0.248
7 10 Nicky CATSBURG LADA Sport Rosneft LADA Vesta WTCC 5 1:46.725 0.376
8 68 Yvan MULLER Citroën Total WTCC Citroën C-Elysée WTCC 5 1:46.824 0.475
9 61 Fredrik EKBLOM Polestar Cyan Racing Volvo S60 WTCC 4 1:46.831 0.482
10 25 Mehdi BENNANI Sébastien Loeb Racing Citroën C-Elysée WTCC 5 1:47.078 0.729

Complete session results

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