Nicky Catsburg claims provisional pole position in Argentina

Nicky Catsburg claims provisional pole position in Argentina

Nicky Catsburg
Photo: Francois Flamand / DPPI

Polestar’s Nicky Catsburg took pole position in qualifying for the World Touring Car Championship in Argentina, although he remains under investigation after going off the circuit at the end of his Q3 lap.

Catsburg was faster throughout all three sectors on his Q3 run, but the Dutchman ran wide off the circuit at the end of his lap, albeit technically after having crossed the start / finish line.

As a result, Catsburg’s pole is provisional as he is under investigation by the stewards, having beaten Honda’s Norbert Michelisz to the top time by just 0.184 seconds.

“The start / finish line is very close to the exit of the last corner,” explained Catsburg of his lap. “I knew that I didn’t have to stay on the track after the finish line so I just kept on pushing and maybe that was the difference!

“[The car] felt fantastic – already this morning we immediately felt that the car feels really good and really strong and throughout the day we only made slight improvements and got pole position, so it’s not too bad!”

Championship leader Tiago Monteiro was third fastest, and thus eked out a slightly larger lead by two points at the top.

Campos Racing’s Esteban Guerrieri put in an impressive effort to make it through to Q3 in his Chevrolet and then go fourth, repeating his Q3 breakthrough on his WTCC début in 2016.

The third Polestar S60 of Argentine ace Néstor Girolami just missed out on Q3, ending up sixth fastest, ahead of the leading Citroën of Sébastien Loeb Racing’s Mehdi Bennani and team-mate Tom Chilton in seventh and eighth.

Honda’s Ryo Michigami put in his best qualifying performance of the year in ninth, but the Japanese driver will start the Opening Race from the back of the grid anyway due to having received a penalty for an engine change on his Civic between practice and qualifying.

RC Motorsport’s Yann Ehrlacher qualified in tenth and will therefore start the reverse-grid Opening Race from the front row of the grid.

The third Sébastien Loeb Racing car of John Filippi was 11th, whilst ROAL Motorsport’s Tom Coronel was 12th, having been more than two seconds off the pace.

The biggest surprise in Q1 was Münnich Motorsport’s Rob Huff failing to get through to Q2 for the first time this season, with the Brit complaining of issues with new brakes costing him and leaving him to start from 13th.

Zengő Motorsport’s Dániel Nagy and WTCC newcomer Zsolt Szabó were 14th and 15th respectively, whilst the second RC Motorsport LADA of Kevin Gleason was the slowest driver in the field in 16th, the American being almost three seconds off the pole time.

MAC3

A poor start from Honda’s Michigami dictated the rest of the Japanese marque’s performance, as the three factory drivers put in a two-lap combined time of 3 minutes 49.487 seconds.

When Polestar took to the track it was Catsburg who headed up the trio and the Swedish manufacturer put in a much more competitive display with a time which ended up being 15.602 seconds faster than Honda, taking more than four seconds in the first sector of the first lap alone.

It marks Polestar Volvo’s fifth win out of six MAC3 sessions so far this season.

Q3 results

POS NO CL DRIVER NAT ENTRANT CAR LAPS TIME GAP
1 63 Nicky CATSBURG Polestar Cyan Racing Volvo S60 Polestar 3 1:43.088 0.000
2 5 Norbert MICHELISZ Honda Racing Team JAS Honda Civic WTCC 3 1:43.272 0.184
3 18 Tiago MONTEIRO Honda Racing Team JAS Honda Civic WTCC 3 1:43.479 0.391
4 86 T Esteban GUERRIERI Campos Racing Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1 3 1:43.704 0.616
5 62 Thed BJÖRK Polestar Cyan Racing Volvo S60 Polestar 3 1:43.715 0.627

Q2 results

POS NO CL DRIVER NAT ENTRANT CAR LAPS TIME GAP
1 63 Nicky CATSBURG Polestar Cyan Racing Volvo S60 Polestar 5 1:43.085 0.000
2 5 Norbert MICHELISZ Honda Racing Team JAS Honda Civic WTCC 5 1:43.135 0.050
3 62 Thed BJÖRK Polestar Cyan Racing Volvo S60 Polestar 5 1:43.362 0.277
4 18 Tiago MONTEIRO Honda Racing Team JAS Honda Civic WTCC 5 1:43.388 0.303
5 86 T Esteban GUERRIERI Campos Racing Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1 5 1:43.585 0.500
6 61 Néstor GIROLAMI Polestar Cyan Racing Volvo S60 Polestar 5 1:43.690 0.605
7 25 T Mehdi BENNANI Sébastien Loeb Racing Citroën C-Elysée WTCC 5 1:44.062 0.977
8 3 T Tom CHILTON Sébastien Loeb Racing Citroën C-Elysée WTCC 5 1:44.299 1.214
9 34 Ryo MICHIGAMI Honda Racing Team JAS Honda Civic WTCC 4 1:44.400 1.315
10 68 T Yann EHRLACHER RC Motorsport LADA Vesta WTCC 5 1:44.803 1.718
11 27 T John FILIPPI Sébastien Loeb Racing Citroën C-Elysée WTCC 5 1:44.870 1.785
12 9 T Tom CORONEL ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1 5 1:45.357 2.272

Q1 results

POS NO CL DRIVER NAT ENTRANT CAR LAPS TIME GAP
1 63 Nicky CATSBURG Polestar Cyan Racing Volvo S60 Polestar 8 1:43.448 0.000
2 62 Thed BJÖRK Polestar Cyan Racing Volvo S60 Polestar 8 1:43.637 0.189
3 5 Norbert MICHELISZ Honda Racing Team JAS Honda Civic WTCC 6 1:43.747 0.299
4 18 Tiago MONTEIRO Honda Racing Team JAS Honda Civic WTCC 6 1:43.818 0.370
5 61 Néstor GIROLAMI Polestar Cyan Racing Volvo S60 Polestar 8 1:43.879 0.431
6 86 T Esteban GUERRIERI Campos Racing Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1 6 1:43.913 0.465
7 25 T Mehdi BENNANI Sébastien Loeb Racing Citroën C-Elysée WTCC 7 1:44.507 1.059
8 3 T Tom CHILTON Sébastien Loeb Racing Citroën C-Elysée WTCC 7 1:44.594 1.146
9 68 T Yann EHRLACHER RC Motorsport LADA Vesta WTCC 8 1:44.746 1.298
10 9 T Tom CORONEL ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1 8 1:44.779 1.331
11 34 Ryo MICHIGAMI Honda Racing Team JAS Honda Civic WTCC 4 1:44.910 1.462
12 27 T John FILIPPI Sébastien Loeb Racing Citroën C-Elysée WTCC 8 1:45.039 1.591
13 12 T Rob HUFF ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Citroën C-Elysée WTCC 8 1:45.178 1.730
14 99 T Dániel NAGY Zengő Motorsport Kft Honda Civic WTCC 8 1:45.919 2.471
15 66 T Zsolt Dávid SZABÓ Zengő Motorsport Kft Honda Civic WTCC 9 1:46.079 2.631
16 24 T Kevin GLEASON RC Motorsport LADA Vesta WTCC 9 1:46.432 2.984