Rob Huff claimed the first non-Hyundai pole position of the season in qualifying for the first FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) race at Zandvoort, with the highest-placed Hyundai car languishing down in 14th position.
Huff had been on the pace throughout the single-segment qualifying session, hitting the top of the times inside the first ten minutes with his first effort, before pulling a new TCR lap record effort out of the bag as he saw off the challenge from Münnich Motorsport Honda duo Esteban Guerrieri and Yann Ehrlacher.
The Sébastien Loeb Racing driver ended up on pole by a margin of just over a tenth of a second from Ehrlacher in second, with Audi racer Gordon Shedden securing a WTCR-best with third.
“I want to say a huge thanks to Sébastien Loeb Racing and Volkswagen – the car has been really fantastic all day yesterday and we’ve improved it and improved it,” said Huff.
“I think it just suits the track. I did two what I would say were really good laps and it was brilliant. We deserved it, the boys worked so hard for the second two races at the Nürburgring for nothing, and this is how we pay them back.”
Jean-Karl Vernay was just behind his Leopard Lukoil team-mate in fourth as the Audis performed well, with the Frenchman having been on top of the times at one stage in the first half of the session before slipping back as the track got faster.
Boutsen Ginion Racing’s Benjamin Lessennes was fifth, ahead of Comtoyou Racing’s Nathanaël Berthon in sixth.
DG Sport Compétition’s Aurélien Comte was the best of the Peugeot drivers in seventh, with the 308 drivers experiencing an upturn in form at Zandvoort after conducting a test at Zolder on their way to the track during the week.
Local favourite Tom Coronel had been suffering for pace throughout the weekend and was almost at the bottom of the timesheets with just minutes to go until the Honda driver put in a strong late lap to secure eighth on the grid for his first home race of the weekend.
Comtoyou Racing’s Frédéric Vervisch and Münnich Motorsport’s Esteban Guerrieri completed the top ten, the latter having failed to improve his time in the last 15 minutes despite having been near the top of the classification in the first half of the session.
The best of the Hyundai drivers was BRC Racing’s Norbert Michelisz in 14th position as the i30 N drivers appeared to struggle for pace after the latest Balance of Performance [BoP] measures.
Michelisz’s team-mate Gabriele Tarquini was just 24th fastest, whilst points leader Yvan Muller could only manage 21st, 1.5 seconds off the pace. His YMR team-mate Thed Björk was only two places higher in 19th.
The session had to be briefly red-flagged just before the halfway stage when Zengő Motorsport’s Zsolt Szabó went off the track into the tyre barriers at Turn 8.
The first WTCR race of the weekend takes place at 16:20 CEST (15:20 BST).
|1||12||Rob HUFF||Sébastien Loeb Racing||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||10||1:43.945||0.000|
|2||68||Yann EHRLACHER||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic Type R TCR||12||1:44.058||0.113|
|3||52||Gordon SHEDDEN||Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team||Audi RS3 LMS||10||1:44.102||0.157|
|4||69||Jean-Karl VERNAY||Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team||Audi RS3 LMS||13||1:44.252||0.307|
|5||63||Benjamin LESSENNES||Boutsen Ginion Racing||Honda Civic Type R TCR||14||1:44.340||0.395|
|6||23||Nathanaël BERTHON||Comtoyou Racing||Audi RS3 LMS||12||1:44.488||0.543|
|7||7||Aurélien COMTE||DG Sport Compétition||Peugeot 308 TCR||10||1:44.531||0.586|
|8||9||Tom CORONEL||Boutsen Ginion Racing||Honda Civic Type R TCR||12||1:44.596||0.651|
|9||22||Frédéric VERVISCH||Audi Sport Team Comtoyou||Audi RS3 LMS||9||1:44.597||0.652|
|10||86||Esteban GUERRIERI||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic Type R TCR||13||1:44.599||0.654|
|11||25||Mehdi BENNANI||Sébastien Loeb Racing||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||10||1:44.671||0.726|
|12||21||Aurélien PANIS||Comtoyou Racing||Audi RS3 LMS||11||1:44.689||0.744|
|13||20||Denis DUPONT||Comtoyou Racing||Audi RS3 LMS||12||1:44.719||0.774|
|14||5||Norbert MICHELISZ||BRC Racing Team||Hyundai i30 N TCR||10||1:44.790||0.845|
|15||15||James THOMPSON||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic Type R TCR||13||1:44.939||0.994|
|16||10||Gianni MORBIDELLI||Team Mulsanne||Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR||12||1:44.975||1.030|
|17||74||Pepe ORIOLA||Team Oscaro by Campos Racing||CUPRA TCR||12||1:45.102||1.157|
|18||27||John FILIPPI||Team Oscaro by Campos Racing||CUPRA TCR||11||1:45.128||1.183|
|19||11||Thed BJÖRK||YMR||Hyundai i30 N TCR||13||1:45.195||1.250|
|20||88||Fabrizio GIOVANARDI||Team Mulsanne||Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR||11||1:45.387||1.442|
|21||48||Yvan MULLER||YMR||Hyundai i30 N TCR||11||1:45.451||1.506|
|22||70||Mat’o HOMOLA||DG Sport Compétition||Peugeot 308 TCR||9||1:45.535||1.590|
|23||8||Norbert NAGY||Zengő Motorsport||CUPRA TCR||13||1:45.607||1.662|
|24||30||Gabriele TARQUINI||BRC Racing Team||Hyundai i30 N TCR||10||1:45.622||1.677|
|25||3||Michael VERHAGEN||Bas Koeten Racing||Audi RS3 LMS||13||1:45.743||1.798|
|26||66||Zsolt Dávid SZABÓ||Zengő Motorsport||CUPRA TCR||2||1:46.182||2.237|
|27||2||Bernhard VAN ORANJE NASSAU||Bas Koeten Racing||Audi RS3 LMS||13||1:46.603||2.658|