Luca Engstler edged closer to defending his TCR Asia series title by taking pole position for race one on the streets of Bangsaen in Thailand, beating fellow Hyundai driver Pepe Oriola by just under two tenths of a second.
Engstler already had a points advantage equating to more than a race win over his nearest rival Diego Moran heading into the event, and the young German has now increased that margin by taking five extra points for pole position on Saturday.
The Team Engstler driver was indomitable in qualifying, topping Q1 by over six tenths of a second before then going eight tenths faster in Q2 to secure pole ahead of street circuit expert Oriola.
Oriola had to settle for second on his first visit to the tight street circuit, with the Solite Indigo Racing driver the only other driver to post a lap in the 1 minute 40 seconds.
Engstler’s team-mate and title rival Moran was third, over a second and a half adrift of his rival in a qualifying session which saw the margins between the field spaced out.
Thai racer Jakraphan Davee was fourth in the leading CUPRA, ahead of Daniel Miranda’s Eurasia Motorsport Hyundai in fifth, the only other driver within two seconds of Engstler’s pace.
Miranda headed up a Hyundai trio, with Korean racer Kim Jin Soo in sixth, ahead of the second Eurasia car of Gao Hua Yang in seventh.
Malaysian regular Douglas Khoo was eighth, whilst the top ten was completed by German Roland Hertner and Malaysian Adam Khalid in their Volkswagen Golfs, giving the latter the reverse-grid pole position for race two.
Race one gets underway at 11:00 local time (05:00 BST, 06:00 CEST).
|1||1||Luca ENGSTLER||Liqui Moly Team Engstler||Hyundai i30 N TCR||3||1:40.727||0.000|
|2||74||Pepe ORIOLA||Solite Indigo Racing||Hyundai i30 N TCR||6||1:40.921||0.194|
|3||23||Diego MORAN||Liqui Moly Team Engstler||Hyundai i30 N TCR||6||1:42.228||1.501|
|4||33||Jakraphan DAVEE||AlphaFactory Racing Team by Pulzar||CUPRA TCR||6||1:42.596||1.869|
|5||20||Daniel MIRANDA||Eurasia Motorsport||Hyundai i30 N TCR||6||1:42.610||1.883|
|6||97||KIM Jin Soo||Solite Indigo Racing||Hyundai i30 N TCR||6||1:43.480||2.753|
|7||30||GAO Hua Yang||Eurasia Motorsport||Hyundai i30 N TCR||5||1:44.205||3.478|
|8||65||Douglas KHOO Kok Hui||Viper Niza Racing||CUPRA TCR||5||1:46.993||6.266|
|9||3||Roland HERTNER||Volkswagen Team Oettinger||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||4||1:47.756||7.029|
|10||4||Adam KHALID||Volkswagen Team Oettinger||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||5||1:49.435||8.708|
|1||1||Luca ENGSTLER||Liqui Moly Team Engstler||Hyundai i30 N TCR||8||1:41.542||0.000|
|2||74||Pepe ORIOLA||Solite Indigo Racing||Hyundai i30 N TCR||8||1:42.186||0.644|
|3||20||Daniel MIRANDA||Eurasia Motorsport||Hyundai i30 N TCR||10||1:43.020||1.478|
|4||23||Diego MORAN||Liqui Moly Team Engstler||Hyundai i30 N TCR||8||1:43.331||1.789|
|5||33||Jakraphan DAVEE||AlphaFactory Racing Team by Pulzar||CUPRA TCR||9||1:43.814||2.272|
|6||30||GAO Hua Yang||Eurasia Motorsport||Hyundai i30 N TCR||11||1:44.905||3.363|
|7||97||KIM Jin Soo||Solite Indigo Racing||Hyundai i30 N TCR||10||1:45.041||3.499|
|8||3||Roland HERTNER||Volkswagen Team Oettinger||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||8||1:47.751||6.209|
|9||65||Douglas KHOO Kok Hui||Viper Niza Racing||CUPRA TCR||10||1:48.682||7.140|
|10||4||Adam KHALID||Volkswagen Team Oettinger||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||10||1:49.333||7.791|
|11||36||David LAU||Teamwork Motorsport||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||7||1:55.475||13.933|