Thed Björk secures second consecutive pole at the Nordschleife

Thed Björk secures second consecutive pole at the Nordschleife

Thed Björk
Photo: Florent Gooden / DPPI

YMR’s Thed Björk took a second consecutive pole position in qualifying for the FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) at the Nürburgring Nordschleife, beating Comtoyou Racing’s Frédéric Vervisch to the top time.

The Swede went to the top of the times on his first qualifying lap, with an effort of 8 minutes 59.550 seconds, before then going even faster on his second attempt with a lap of 8:57.977.

But the reigning WTCC champion would be forced to work for P1 after BRC Racing’s Norbert Michelisz with a time a second faster than Björk on his second lap.

In the end Björk pulled an even better lap out of the bag, some 3.7 seconds faster than Thursday, to secure pole position by a second from the surprise lap put in by Vervisch, who was on a charge late in the 40-minute session.

“It’s not easy – I was fighting so hard for it,”said Björk of his lap. “Yann was out on the last lap in my tow, and I was thinking ‘what can I do’? But in the end, I just thought that I would go for it, and it was a fantastic end of the lap.

“In qualifying there are so many emotions going through your head in these laps, even though we only do three laps. There are so many things going through your head on how to handle the risk and the speed and so on, so I’m really happy to be in first.”

Third went to Michelisz, who ended up a second and a half shy of Björk’s time, ahead of the second YMR Hyundai of Yvan Muller in fourth – also meaning that the heavily ballasted Hyundai continues to set the pace with three out of the top four positions.

Münnich Motorsport’s Yann Ehrlacher was the lead Honda in fifth, ahead of Boutsen Ginion Racing’s Benjamin Lessennes in sixth.

Sébastien Loeb Racing’s Rob Huff secured seventh, in front of the late improving Honda of Esteban Guerrieri in eighth.

Occupying the front row for the reverse-grid second race will be the Audi of René Rast, who was ninth, and Campos Racing’s Pepe Oriola, who was tenth and secured his second reverse pole position of the season.

Audi’s Jean-Karl Vernay did improve on his final flying lap but it was not good enough for the top ten, leaving the Leopard Lukoil driver in 11th, ahead of Comtoyou Racing Audi driver Nathanaël Berthon in 12th.

The second Boutsen Ginion Racing Honda of Tom Coronel was 13th, just ahead of points leader Gabriele Tarquini in 14th, who continued to fail to engage with the Nordschleife.

A flurry of late improvements meant that several drivers who had been in the reverse position lost out in the closing seconds, most notably Gordon Shedden, who ended up qualifying his Audi in 15th.

The second race takes place at 11:00 CEST (10:00 BST) on Saturday, followed by race three at 12:20 CEST (11:20 BST).

Qualifying results

POS NO DRIVER NAT ENTRANT CAR LAPS TIME GAP
1 11 Thed BJÖRK YMR Hyundai i30 N TCR 3 8:55.085 0.000
2 22 Frédéric VERVISCH Audi Sport Team Comtoyou Audi RS3 LMS 3 8:56.125 1.040
3 5 Norbert MICHELISZ BRC Racing Team Hyundai i30 N TCR 3 8:56.534 1.449
4 48 Yvan MULLER YMR Hyundai i30 N TCR 3 9:56.739 1.654
5 68 Yann EHRLACHER ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR 3 8:56.749 1.664
6 63 Benjamin LESSENNES Boutsen Ginion Racing Honda Civic Type R TCR 3 8:57.310 2.225
7 12 Rob HUFF Sébastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 3 8:58.646 3.561
8 86 Esteban GUERRIERI ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR 3 8:58.708 3.623
9 33 René RAST Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team Audi RS3 LMS 3 8:59.183 4.098
10 74 Pepe ORIOLA Team Oscaro by Campos Racing CUPRA TCR 3 8:59.630 4.545
11 69 Jean-Karl VERNAY Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team Audi RS3 LMS 3 8:59.952 4.867
12 23 Nathanaël BERTHON Comtoyou Racing Audi RS3 LMS 3 8:59.952 4.867
13 9 Tom CORONEL Boutsen Ginion Racing Honda Civic Type R TCR 3 9:01.161 6.076
14 30 Gabriele TARQUINI BRC Racing Team Hyundai i30 N TCR 3 9:01.511 6.426
15 52 Gordon SHEDDEN Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team Audi RS3 LMS 3 9:01.702 6.617
16 25 Mehdi BENNANI Sébastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 3 9:01.706 6.621
17 27 John FILIPPI Team Oscaro by Campos Racing CUPRA TCR 3 9:01.834 6.749
18 21 Aurélien PANIS Comtoyou Racing Audi RS3 LMS 3 9:02.224 7.139
19 70 Mat’o HOMOLA DG Sport Compétition Peugeot 308 TCR 3 9:02.836 7.751
20 15 James THOMPSON ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR 3 9:02.917 7.832
21 20 Denis DUPONT Comtoyou Racing Audi RS3 LMS 3 9:03.360 8.275
22 7 Aurélien COMTE DG Sport Compétition Peugeot 308 TCR 3 9:04.114 9.029
23 10 Gianni MORBIDELLI Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR 3 9:04.894 9.809
24 88 Fabrizio GIOVANARDI Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR 3 9:05.098 10.013
25 8 Norbert NAGY Zengő Motorsport CUPRA TCR 3 9:06.016 10.931
26 66 Zsolt Dávid SZABÓ Zengő Motorsport CUPRA TCR 3 9:06.116 11.031
27 94 Kris RICHARD KCMG Honda Civic Type R TCR 3 9:07.147 12.062