Norbert Michelisz says he ‘dug into his energy reserves’ in order to take pole position for the main World Touring Car Championship race in Portugal, having felt unwell in the run-up to the event.
The Hungarian beat the independent Citroën of Rob Huff to pole in qualifying by a comfortable 0.684 seconds, taking his second consecutive pole position despite feeling unwell throughout Saturday.
The Honda did, however, admit that he expected the Civics to be strong on the streets of Vila Real, and he was almost also joined by team-mate Tiago Monteiro before a mistake cost the Japanese marque a front-row lock-out.
“I haven’t been feeling well either today or yesterday, so I had to reach so deep into my energy reserves to do this lap,” said Michelisz. “Taking my second pole position in a row is just a fantastic result.
“To be honest, I expected us to be strong here after we tried some things in a test in Italy last week that worked really well, and the practice pace was very strong too.”
Michelisz is predicting that Sunday’s Opening Race could be a challenge, with passing expected to be difficult on the barrier-lined circuit.
“Being in front also gives me a great opportunity to dictate the tactics with the new joker lap, but it also creates a difficult in the Opening Race because I will start 10th on the reversed grid.
“If we can put together a good strategy and finish sixth or seventh in the Opening Race, and then win the Main Race, this will be a very good weekend for us.”