Gabriele Tarquini followed up his win in Saturday’s first FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) race with pole position in Sunday’s qualifying session, beating fellow Hyundai racer Yvan Muller to pole by less than a tenth of a second.
On his solo Q3 lap it was Italian maestro Tarquini who proved capable of making the most out of his car with a faultless lap that eclipsed old touring car Muller by 0.080 seconds.
“It was experience but speed, because experience sometimes is not enough,” said a delighted Tarquini. “Yesterday I played really strong on experience, and today was the day to push and be on pole.
“It was a big fight between the Hyundais and fortunately I made a clean lap without any mistakes, because on this track it is very easy to make mistakes.
“I’m very lucky that the dream continues. This car is my baby and normally babies respect the parents, so this probably gives me a little advantage!”
Hungarian Norbert Michelisz made the most of his chances to claim third and make up for the bad luck that dogged him on Saturday, whilst the second YMR car of Thed Björk was fourth, ensuring a Hyundai 1-2-3-4 at the head of the field.
Münnich Motorsport’s Yann Ehrlacher was fifth, unable to match the pace of the leading South Korean cars but comfortably the leading Honda driver, as the Frenchman had also been in Q1 and Q2.
Just missing out on the cut for Q3 was Sébastien Loeb Racing’s Rob Huff, who was sixth fastest and just 0.005 seconds away from progressing further.
Huff;’s team-mate and local hero Mehdi Bennani was seventh in his Volkswagen Golf GTi, ahead of Münnich Motorsport’s James Thompson in eighth, with the Brit enjoying one of his strongest qualifying sessions in several years.
Jena-Karl Vernay was the leading Audi driver in ninth, whilst Campos Racing’s Pepe Oriola completed the top ten, handing the CUPRA driver the reverse-grid pole position for the first race of the day and the second race of the weekend in the afternoon.
Global touring car newcomer Gordon Shedden just missed out on the reverse grid and was 11th, leaving the Scot on the sixth row of the grid for both of Sunday afternoon’s races. Fellow Audi racer Frédéric Vervisch completed the Q2 runners in 12th.
The third Münnich Motorsport Honda of Esteban Guerrieri was 13th, despite the Argentine pushing hard in the final stages of the half-hour Q1 session.
Boutsen Ginion Racing’s Tom Coronel was 14th, ahead of Campos Racing’s John Filippi in 15th. Mat’o Homola, who put his Peugeot in 16th, did so despite spinning into the barriers at Turn 5 half-way through Q1.
The first part of qualifying featured a lengthy 20-minute delay when Comtoyou Racing’s Denis Dupont went into the Turn 1 barriers after 15 minutes. The accident spelt the end of the Belgian’s session, leaving him down in 21st and his team with an uphill task to repair his Audi for the afternoon’s races.
Both of Team Mulsanne’s Alfa Romeo drivers continued to struggle for pace, with Fabrizio Giovanardi down in 23rd, 1.3 seconds off the pace after clipping a barrier and damaging his car, and Gianni Morbidelli in last overall in 25th, almost two seconds off the pace.
The second WTCR race of the weekend takes place at 16:45 BST (17:45 CEST).
|1||30||Gabriele TARQUINI||BRC Racing Team||Hyundai i30 N TCR||3||1:24.316||0.000|
|2||48||Yvan MULLER||YMR||Hyundai i30 N TCR||3||1:24.396||0.080|
|3||5||Norbert MICHELISZ||BRC Racing Team||Hyundai i30 N TCR||3||1:24.540||0.224|
|4||11||Thed BJÖRK||YMR||Hyundai i30 N TCR||3||1:24.653||0.337|
|5||68||Yann EHRLACHER||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic TCR||3||1:24.797||0.481|
|1||11||Thed BJÖRK||YMR||Hyundai i30 N TCR||6||1:24.392||0.000|
|2||30||Gabriele TARQUINI||BRC Racing Team||Hyundai i30 N TCR||7||1:24.442||0.050|
|3||5||Norbert MICHELISZ||BRC Racing Team||Hyundai i30 N TCR||9||1:24.519||0.127|
|4||48||Yvan MULLER||YMR||Hyundai i30 N TCR||7||1:24.658||0.266|
|5||68||Yann EHRLACHER||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic TCR||9||1:24.738||0.346|
|6||12||Rob HUFF||Sébastien Loeb Racing||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||9||1:24.743||0.351|
|7||25||Mehdi BENNANI||Sébastien Loeb Racing||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||7||1:24.789||0.397|
|8||15||James THOMPSON||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic TCR||8||1:24.807||0.415|
|9||69||Jean-Karl VERNAY||Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team||Audi RS3 LMS||9||1:24.910||0.518|
|10||74||Pepe ORIOLA||Team Oscaro by Campos Racing||CUPRA TCR||7||1:25.067||0.675|
|11||52||Gordon SHEDDEN||Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team||Audi RS3 LMS||8||1:25.151||0.759|
|12||22||Frédéric VERVISCH||Audi Sport Team Comtoyou||Audi RS3 LMS||9||1:25.201||0.809|
|1||48||Yvan MULLER||YMR||Hyundai i30 N TCR||11||1:24.734||0.000|
|2||11||Thed BJÖRK||YMR||Hyundai i30 N TCR||11||1:24.796||0.062|
|3||30||Gabriele TARQUINI||BRC Racing Team||Hyundai i30 N TCR||13||1:24.816||0.082|
|4||5||Norbert MICHELISZ||BRC Racing Team||Hyundai i30 N TCR||9||1:24.863||0.129|
|5||12||Rob HUFF||Sébastien Loeb Racing||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||11||1:24.877||0.143|
|6||69||Jean-Karl VERNAY||Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team||Audi RS3 LMS||13||1:25.080||0.346|
|7||25||Mehdi BENNANI||Sébastien Loeb Racing||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||14||1:25.082||0.348|
|8||68||Yann EHRLACHER||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic TCR||16||1:25.112||0.378|
|9||22||Frédéric VERVISCH||Audi Sport Team Comtoyou||Audi RS3 LMS||12||1:25.301||0.567|
|10||15||James THOMPSON||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic TCR||16||1:25.302||0.568|
|11||74||Pepe ORIOLA||Team Oscaro by Campos Racing||CUPRA TCR||13||1:25.320||0.586|
|12||52||Gordon SHEDDEN||Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team||Audi RS3 LMS||13||1:25.339||0.605|
|13||86||Esteban GUERRIERI||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic TCR||15||1:25.361||0.627|
|14||9||Tom CORONEL||Boutsen Ginion Racing||Honda Civic TCR||16||1:25.407||0.673|
|15||27||John FILIPPI||Team Oscaro by Campos Racing||CUPRA TCR||14||1:25.420||0.686|
|16||70||Mat’o HOMOLA||DG Sport Compétition||Peugeot 308 TCR||14||1:25.423||0.689|
|17||63||Benjamin LESSENNES||Boutsen Ginion Racing||Honda Civic TCR||18||1:25.459||0.725|
|18||7||Aurélien COMTE||DG Sport Compétition||Peugeot 308 TCR||16||1:25.531||0.797|
|19||66||Zsolt Dávid SZABÓ||Zengő Motorsport||CUPRA TCR||16||1:25.762||1.028|
|20||23||Nathanaël BERTHON||Comtoyou Racing||Audi RS3 LMS||14||1:25.828||1.094|
|21||20||Denis DUPONT||Comtoyou Racing||Audi RS3 LMS||8||1:25.906||1.172|
|22||8||Norbert NAGY||Zengő Motorsport||CUPRA TCR||16||1:26.002||1.268|
|23||88||Fabrizio GIOVANARDI||Team Mulsanne||Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR||14||1:26.064||1.330|
|24||21||Aurélien PANIS||Comtoyou Racing||Audi RS3 LMS||13||1:26.409||1.675|
|25||10||Gianni MORBIDELLI||Team Mulsanne||Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR||12||1:26.708||1.974|