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Mat’o Homola takes pole after frantic Estoril qualifying

B3 Racing’s Mat’o Homola took pole position for the Portuguese round of the TCR International Series at Estoril this weekend, during a fast and frantic qualifying session in the Algarve sunshine.

The SEAT Léon TCR driver was 0.155 seconds faster than the Honda Civic TCR of WestCoast Racing’s Gianni Morbidelli, with Leopard Racing’s Jean-Karl Vernay rounding out the top three with his Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR.

Drama struck one of the title contenders, as Dušan Borković’s SEAT Léon hit the inner barrier on the exit of turn three with 11 minutes left in Q1. The Serbian driver’s rear tyres were a factor in his loss of control coming out of the corner, which means he will start on last place for both race.

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Defending champion Stefano Comini was able to put himself alongside teammate Vernay on the second row for race one. But hefound himself hindered by Loris Hezemans’ SEAT Léon in the latter stages, meaning no further improvement in terms of flying lap performance.

Sergey Afanasyev was the best-placed of the Craft-Bamboo trio, as the Russian would have to settle for fifth place, ahead of WestCoast Racing’s Aku Pellinen and Kevin Gleason.

The top eight would be separated by only 0.670 seconds at the flag, as James Nash, who had non-existent running in his SEAT during both free practice sessions, will start in eighth, ahead of team mate Pepe Oriola, with Hezemans taking tenth place, and pole position for race two.

Oriola was amongst many drivers to exceed track limits, but one of the laps that the Spaniard completed was reinstated by the stewards, promoting him to seventh, ahead of Gleason and Nash.

Nash will now line up alongside Hezemans on the front row of the grid for race two on Sunday afternoon.

TCR Rookie Atilla Tassi was in the frame for the race two pole position, but the B3 Racing driver was forced down the order by both Hezemans and Oriola, with the latter posting his best flying lap at the last minute of Q2.

Liqui Moly Team Engstler’s Davit Kajaia was almost two seconds off the pace set by Homola, but made it three Golf GTi TCRs into the second part of qualifying.

Race one starts tomorrow at 11:25 local time (11:25am British Summer Time.)

Top ten times

1 70 Mat’o HOMOLA B3 Racing Team Hungary SEAT León TCR 4 1:48.518 0.000
2 10 Gianni MORBIDELLI West Coast Racing Honda Civic TCR 4 1:48.673 0.155
3 2 Jean-Karl VERNAY Leopard Racing Volkswagen Golf Gti TCR 4 1:48.860 0.342
4 1 Stefano COMINI Leopard Racing Volkswagen Golf Gti TCR 4 1:48.965 0.447
5 77 Sergey AFANASYEV Team Craft-Bamboo LUKOIL SEAT León TCR 5 1:49.012 0.494
6 14 Aku PELLINEN West Coast Racing Honda Civic TCR 5 1:49.051 0.533
7 74 Pepe ORIOLA Team Craft-Bamboo LUKOIL SEAT León TCR 6 1:49.085 0.567
8 24 Kevin GLEASON West Coast Racing Honda Civic TCR 4 1:49.173 0.655
9 54 James NASH Team Craft-Bamboo LUKOIL SEAT León TCR 5 1:49.188 0.670
10 50 Loris HEZEMANS Baporo Motorsport SEAT León Cup Racer 5 1:49.868 1.350

Complete session results

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