Thed Björk heads comfortable Lynk & Co 1-2-3-4 in first qualifying

Thed Björk heads comfortable Lynk & Co 1-2-3-4 in first qualifying

Thed Björk
Photo: Florent Gooden / DPPI

Thed Björk led a comfortable 1-2-3-4 for Lynk & Co in the first qualifying session for the FIA World Touring Car Cup at Zandvoort, ahead of team-mates Yvan Muller, Andy Priaulx and Yann Ehrlacher.

The four Lynk & Co 03 cars were never headed during the half-hour session, with Priaulx initially setting the pace with a time of 1 minute 44.624 seconds in the first five minutes.

The top time then changed six more times between the Cyan Racing foursome, with all four drivers having a spell at the top of the times, until Björk finally went quickest after just over 20 minutes with a lap of 1 minute 44.080 seconds.

Björk’s time put him less than a tenth of a second ahead of Muller, before the team decided its drivers had done enough to secure pole and called the cars back to the pits for the final five minutes.

PWR Racing’s Mikel Azcona was the best of the rest in fifth, the CUPRA driver ending up seven tenths adrift of pole, such was the advantage of the Chinese cars at the front, which received an increase in power of 2.5% this weekend under Balance of Performance [BoP] measures.

Benjamin Leuchter was sixth fastest in the best of the Volkswagens, ahead of SLR team-mate Johan Kristoffersson in seventh in a significantly improved qualifying performance for the Golf GTi cars.

Daniel Haglöf once again proved to be strong on single-lap pace and put his PWR Racing CUPRA in eighth for Saturday’s first race.

WRT’s Jean-Karl Vernay was the leading Audi driver in ninth, whilst SLR’s Mehdi Bennani completed the top ten, just under eight tenths off the pace.

None of the Hyundai drivers made the top ten, with local favourite Nicky Catsburg the best of the BRC Racing quartet in 11th, whilst his team-mate Augusto Farfus had an off at Turn 2 just past the halfway mark, the Brazilian slightly damaging the front of his car after nudging the barriers and ending up in 18th overall.

Championship leader Néstor Girolami was the best of the Honda drivers in 14th, with the Münnich Motorsport driver just under a second off the pace.

Reigning champion Gabriele Tarquini was just 20th in his Hyundai, at the circuit where the brand endured its worst results of the season last year. This year the BRC drivers qualified in 11th (Catsburg), 13th (Michelisz), 18th (Farfus) and 20th (Tarquini).

The gap from the four Lynk & Co cars at the front to the next best driver was 0.488 seconds, whilst the rest of the field, excluding Monteiro, was covered by just under a second.

The session ended under a red flag when KCMG’s Tiago Monteiro went off at Turn 8 with just a minute and a half remaining, with the Honda driver losing his best time as a result, dropping him to 26th and last.

Race one is scheduled to get underway at 14:35 CEST (13:35 BST).

Qualifying result

POS NO DRIVER NAT ENTRANT CAR LAPS TIME GAP
1 11 Thed BJÖRK Cyan Racing Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 03 TCR 9 1:44.080 0.000
2 100 Yvan MULLER Cyan Racing Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 03 TCR 9 1:44.153 0.073
3 111 Andy PRIAULX Cyan Performance Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 03 TCR 9 1:44.196 0.116
4 68 Yann EHRLACHER Cyan Performance Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 03 TCR 9 1:44.313 0.233
5 96 Mikel AZCONA PWR Racing CUPRA TCR 11 1:44.801 0.721
6 33 Benjamin LEUCHTER SLR Volkswagen Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 11 1:44.804 0.724
7 14 Johan KRISTOFFERSSON SLR Volkswagen Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 10 1:44.810 0.730
8 37 Daniel HAGLÖF PWR Racing CUPRA TCR 10 1:44.856 0.776
9 69 Jean-Karl VERNAY Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport Audi RS3 LMS TCR 12 1:44.867 0.787
10 25 Mehdi BENNANI SLR VW Motorsport Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 11 1:44.874 0.794
11 88 Nicky CATSBURG BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Racing Team Hyundai i30 N TCR 11 1:44.902 0.822
12 22 Frédéric VERVISCH Comtoyou Team Audi Sport Audi RS3 LMS TCR 10 1:44.960 0.880
13 5 Norbert MICHELISZ BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse Hyundai i30 N TCR 11 1:44.972 0.892
14 29 Néstor GIROLAMI ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR 11 1:45.005 0.925
15 12 Rob HUFF SLR VW Motorsport Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 10 1:45.177 1.097
16 86 Esteban GUERRIERI ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR 11 1:45.215 1.135
17 21 Aurélien PANIS Comtoyou DHL Team CUPRA Racing CUPRA TCR 11 1:45.217 1.137
18 8 Augusto FARFUS BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Racing Team Hyundai i30 N TCR 7 1:45.222 1.142
19 10 Niels LANGEVELD Comtoyou Team Audi Sport Audi RS3 LMS TCR 12 1:45.248 1.168
20 1 Gabriele TARQUINI BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse Hyundai i30 N TCR 10 1:45.265 1.185
21 50 Tom CORONEL Comtoyou DHL Team CUPRA Racing CUPRA TCR 11 1:45.272 1.192
22 9 Attila TASSI KCMG Honda Civic Type R TCR 12 1:45.415 1.335
23 55 Ma QING HUA Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR 9 1:45.466 1.386
24 52 Gordon SHEDDEN Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport Audi RS3 LMS TCR 11 1:45.728 1.648
25 31 Kevin CECCON Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR 11 1:45.793 1.713
26 18 Tiago MONTEIRO KCMG Honda Civic Type R TCR 9 1:46.217 2.137