Honda’s Norbert Michelisz claimed pole position in qualifying for the World Touring Car Championship on the streets of Vila Real, after team-mate Tiago Monteiro made a mistake on his final flying lap.
Michelisz’s Q3 time put him over half a second clear at the front, and home hero Monteiro had looked set to join him on the front row of the grid for the Main Race before he made a mistake heading into the final turn, sliding his Honda on braking and narrowly avoiding the barriers.
That mistake left Münnich Motorsport’s Rob Huff in second, ahead of the leading Polestar Volvo of Thed Björk in third.
Monteiro was able to claim the fourth-best time at his home race after the second Volvo in Q3, that of Nicky Catsburg, encountered an issue with the front of his car and aborted his flying lap. The Dutchman was thus left to settle for fifth.
Tom Chilton missed out on Q3 by two tenths of a second and will start from sixth for the Main Race, ahead of Sébastien Loeb Racing team-mate Mehdi Bennani in seventh.
Campos Racing’s Esteban Guerrieri was eighth, who went faster than he had in Q1 but not by enough to make it through to the final segment of qualifying.
Polestar’s Néstor Girolami put his Volvo on the front row of the grid for the Opening Race with ninth, although the Argentine racer had earlier had a tumultuous Q1 that saw him only just make the cut through to Q2 after twice running wide and then suffering from a loose bonnet.
Honda’s Ryo Michigami secured his best-ever grid position in the WTCC by qualifying in tenth, which becomes pole position for the reverse-grid Opening Race.
Just missing out on the reversed grid were Sébastien Loeb Racing’s John Filippi, who was 11th despite a late push, and RC Motorsport’s Yann Ehrlacher, who was 12th and just over three seconds off the pace.
Neither of the Zengő Motorsport Hondas made it past Q1, with Frenchman Aurélien Panis the best of the duo in 13th, ahead of RC Motorsport’s Kevin Gleason in 14th. The American had earlier pushed beyond the limits of his car, running wide at Turn 6 and nudging into the barriers with only superficial damage.
Local racer Manuel Fernandes was 15th on his début with RC Motorsport, ahead of Zengő’s Dániel Nagy in 16th.
ROAL Motorsport’s Tom Coronel did not take part in the session after his first practice shunt, with the Dutchman ruled out of this weekend’s races due to the damage incurred to his car.
Volvo took the MAC3 win, even though Nicky Catsburg again suffered problems, this time with the front splitter on his car. The Swedish marque took the victory by just under four seconds, and the S60 drivers never looked like they were pushing too hard on the high-speed circuit to achieve a total time of 4 minutes 5.355 seconds over their two-lap run.
The story for Honda in MAC3 was of Tiago Monteiro, who suffered from an apparent broken damper early on. It meant that the trio could only manage a time of 4 minutes 9.347 seconds, marking the second event in a row that the Japanese have had to settle for second.
|1||5||Norbert MICHELISZ||Honda Racing Team JAS||Honda Civic WTCC||1:55.846||0.000|
|2||12||T||Rob HUFF||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||Citroën C-Elysée WTCC||1:56.530||0.684|
|3||62||Thed BJÖRK||Polestar Cyan Racing||Volvo S60 Polestar||1:56.919||1.073|
|4||18||Tiago MONTEIRO||Honda Racing Team JAS||Honda Civic WTCC||1:58.940||3.094|
|5||63||Nicky CATSBURG||Polestar Cyan Racing||Volvo S60 Polestar||No time||N/A|
|1||18||Tiago MONTEIRO||Honda Racing Team JAS||Honda Civic WTCC||6||1:56.227||0.000|
|2||5||Norbert MICHELISZ||Honda Racing Team JAS||Honda Civic WTCC||4||1:56.397||0.170|
|3||12||T||Rob HUFF||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||Citroën C-Elysée WTCC||6||1:56.777||0.550|
|4||62||Thed BJÖRK||Polestar Cyan Racing||Volvo S60 Polestar||5||1:56.821||0.594|
|5||63||Nicky CATSBURG||Polestar Cyan Racing||Volvo S60 Polestar||7||1:57.168||0.941|
|6||3||T||Tom CHILTON||Sébastien Loeb Racing||Citroën C-Elysée WTCC||6||1:57.765||1.538|
|7||25||T||Mehdi BENNANI||Sébastien Loeb Racing||Citroën C-Elysée WTCC||6||1:57.915||1.688|
|8||86||T||Esteban GUERRIERI||Campos Racing||Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1||4||1:58.364||2.137|
|9||61||Néstor GIROLAMI||Polestar Cyan Racing||Volvo S60 Polestar||5||1:58.447||2.220|
|10||34||Ryo MICHIGAMI||Honda Racing Team JAS||Honda Civic WTCC||6||1:58.599||2.372|
|11||27||T||John FILIPPI||Sébastien Loeb Racing||Citroën C-Elysée WTCC||6||1:58.967||2.740|
|12||68||T||Yann EHRLACHER||RC Motorsport||LADA Vesta WTCC||6||1:59.287||3.060|
|1||5||Norbert MICHELISZ||Honda Racing Team JAS||Honda Civic WTCC||5||1:57.010||0.000|
|2||12||T||Rob HUFF||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||Citroën C-Elysée WTCC||10||1:57.333||0.323|
|3||18||Tiago MONTEIRO||Honda Racing Team JAS||Honda Civic WTCC||3||1:57.487||0.477|
|4||25||T||Mehdi BENNANI||Sébastien Loeb Racing||Citroën C-Elysée WTCC||6||1:58.106||1.096|
|5||62||Thed BJÖRK||Polestar Cyan Racing||Volvo S60 Polestar||8||1:58.144||1.134|
|6||34||Ryo MICHIGAMI||Honda Racing Team JAS||Honda Civic WTCC||6||1:58.190||1.180|
|7||63||Nicky CATSBURG||Polestar Cyan Racing||Volvo S60 Polestar||6||1:58.344||1.334|
|8||3||T||Tom CHILTON||Sébastien Loeb Racing||Citroën C-Elysée WTCC||6||1:58.420||1.410|
|9||86||T||Esteban GUERRIERI||Campos Racing||Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1||6||1:58.650||1.640|
|10||68||T||Yann EHRLACHER||RC Motorsport||LADA Vesta WTCC||7||1:59.368||2.358|
|11||61||Néstor GIROLAMI||Polestar Cyan Racing||Volvo S60 Polestar||4||1:59.483||2.473|
|12||27||T||John FILIPPI||Sébastien Loeb Racing||Citroën C-Elysée WTCC||9||1:59.783||2.773|
|13||24||T||Kevin GLEASON||RC Motorsport||LADA Vesta WTCC||9||2:00.410||3.400|
|14||22||T||Manuel FERNANDES||RC Motorsport||LADA Vesta WTCC||9||2:00.567||3.557|
|15||8||T||Aurélien PANIS||Zengő Motorsport Kft||Honda Civic WTCC||7||2:00.937||3.927|
|16||99||T||Dániel NAGY||Zengő Motorsport Kft||Honda Civic WTCC||6||2:03.490||6.480|
|17||9||T||Tom CORONEL||ROAL Motorsport||Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1||0||No time||N/A|