SLR’s Johan Kristoffersson claimed pole position for race three of the FIA World Touring Car Cup at Suzuka in Japan, putting his Volkswagen on top of the times on a drying circuit.
Kristoffersson went out first in Q3, on a circuit which was damp and drying after the earlier heavy rain throughout the day in Japan.
The Swede immediately put in his best lap of the weekend with a time of 59.627 seconds, which stood until Q1 and Q2 pace-setter Andy Priaulx set out on his lap.
Priaulx had been faster than Kristoffersson in the middle sector and looked set to claim pole, but the Lynk & Co driver went wide exiting the final turn and put two wheels onto the grass, meaning he could only manage the fifth quickest lap.
That left Kristoffersson with a maiden WTCR qualifying pole, ahead of KCMG’s Tiago Monteiro in second, who had earlier in the day claimed pole position for race one in the wet first qualifying session.
PWR Racing’s Mikel Azcona was an impressive third fastest in the leading CUPRA, ahead of Münnich Motorsport’s Esteban Guerrieri in fourth. Guerrieri had earlier clipped the tyres at the final corner in Q2, sustaining damage to the front-left of his Honda, only to then go quick enough to earn a place in Q3 after pitting for a quick check up.
Priaulx ultimately ended up in fifth, his time ultimately over a second off the pace after running wide onto the grass.
Thed Björk was the second fastest of the Lynk & Co drivers in sixth, four tenths slower than team-mate Priaulx’s time, which was the only sub 1-minute lap, in Q2.
Team Mulsanne’s Kevin Ceccon was seventh, the Italian putting in his best performance of the weekend so far at the circuit where he scored his maiden WTCR win last year.
Gabriele Tarquini was the best of the BRC Racing Hyundai drivers in eighth, just over half a second off the pace.
The top ten was completed by SLR’s Rob Huff and the second BRC Hyundai of points leader Norbert Michelisz, with the latter claiming the reverse-grid pole position for the second race of the weekend on Sunday.
The Honda’s of KCMG’s Attila Tassi and Münnich Motorsport’s Néstor Girolami completed the Q2 runners, the latter only completing four laps.
SLR’s Benjamin Leuchter just missed out on Q2 by 0.017 seconds and put his Volkswagen in 13th, ahead of the best Audi of WRT’s Jean-Karl Vernay in 14th.
Japense racer Ryuichiro Tomita was the best of the wildcard entrants in 15th, putting his Team Hitotsuyama RS3 just under six tenths from the Q1 pace.
Crucially championship leader Yvan Muller was only 17th in his Lynk & Co, which had to be repaired in just two hours after he crashed into the barriers in the earlier qualifying session for race one.
Taking into account points gained in both qualifying sessions, Guerrieri has closed the gap to Michelisz to just ten points after gaining six points across both of Friday’s sessions, whilst the Hungarian picked up no points in qualifying.
Race one is scheduled to get underway at 15:05 local time on Saturday (07:05 BST, 08:05 CEST).
|1||14||Johan KRISTOFFERSSON||SLR Volkswagen||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||3||59.627||0.000|
|2||18||Tiago MONTEIRO||KCMG||Honda Civic Type R TCR||3||59.780||0.153|
|3||96||Mikel AZCONA||PWR Racing||CUPRA TCR||3||1:00.104||0.477|
|4||86||Esteban GUERRIERI||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic Type R TCR||3||1:00.192||0.565|
|5||111||Andy PRIAULX||Cyan Performance Lynk & Co||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||3||1:01.023||1.396|
|1||111||Andy PRIAULX||Cyan Performance Lynk & Co||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||6||59.864||0.000|
|2||18||Tiago MONTEIRO||KCMG||Honda Civic Type R TCR||6||1:00.005||0.141|
|3||86||Esteban GUERRIERI||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic Type R TCR||6||1:00.026||0.162|
|4||14||Johan KRISTOFFERSSON||SLR Volkswagen||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||10||1:00.040||0.176|
|5||96||Mikel AZCONA||PWR Racing||CUPRA TCR||7||1:00.215||0.351|
|6||11||Thed BJÖRK||Cyan Racing Lynk & Co||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||6||1:00.280||0.416|
|7||31||Kevin CECCON||Team Mulsanne||Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR||7||1:00.353||0.489|
|8||1||Gabriele TARQUINI||BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse||Hyundai i30 N TCR||8||1:00.367||0.503|
|9||12||Rob HUFF||SLR VW Motorsport||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||8||1:00.467||0.603|
|10||5||Norbert MICHELISZ||BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse||Hyundai i30 N TCR||8||1:00.481||0.617|
|11||9||Attila TASSI||KCMG||Honda Civic Type R TCR||8||1:00.783||0.919|
|12||29||Néstor GIROLAMI||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic Type R TCR||4||1:00.994||1.130|
|1||111||Andy PRIAULX||Cyan Performance Lynk & Co||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||9||1:00.226||0.000|
|2||86||Esteban GUERRIERI||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic Type R TCR||10||1:00.421||0.195|
|3||11||Thed BJÖRK||Cyan Racing Lynk & Co||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||10||1:00.476||0.250|
|4||1||Gabriele TARQUINI||BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse||Hyundai i30 N TCR||12||1:00.485||0.259|
|5||29||Néstor GIROLAMI||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic Type R TCR||10||1:00.498||0.272|
|6||18||Tiago MONTEIRO||KCMG||Honda Civic Type R TCR||12||1:00.510||0.284|
|7||14||Johan KRISTOFFERSSON||SLR Volkswagen||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||15||1:00.559||0.333|
|8||31||Kevin CECCON||Team Mulsanne||Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR||15||1:00.596||0.370|
|9||5||Norbert MICHELISZ||BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse||Hyundai i30 N TCR||9||1:00.656||0.430|
|10||9||Attila TASSI||KCMG||Honda Civic Type R TCR||14||1:00.716||0.490|
|11||96||Mikel AZCONA||PWR Racing||CUPRA TCR||14||1:00.742||0.516|
|12||12||Rob HUFF||SLR VW Motorsport||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||13||1:00.746||0.520|
|13||33||Benjamin LEUCHTER||SLR Volkswagen||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||15||1:00.763||0.537|
|14||69||Jean-Karl VERNAY||Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||13||1:00.810||0.584|
|15||7||Ryuichiro TOMITA||Audi Team Hitotsuyama||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||13||1:00.815||0.589|
|16||68||Yann EHRLACHER||Cyan Performance Lynk & Co||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||12||1:00.862||0.636|
|17||100||Yvan MULLER||Cyan Racing Lynk & Co||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||11||1:00.870||0.644|
|18||22||Frédéric VERVISCH||Comtoyou Team Audi Sport||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||12||1:00.874||0.648|
|19||88||Nicky CATSBURG||BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Racing Team||Hyundai i30 N TCR||10||1:00.894||0.668|
|20||25||Mehdi BENNANI||SLR VW Motorsport||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||13||1:00.902||0.676|
|21||19||Jim KA TO||KC Motorgroup||Honda Civic Type R TCR||11||1:00.982||0.756|
|22||77||Ritomo MIYATA||Audi Team Hitotsuyama||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||10||1:00.982||0.756|
|23||55||Ma QING HUA||Team Mulsanne||Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR||14||1:01.032||0.806|
|24||37||Daniel HAGLÖF||PWR Racing||CUPRA TCR||16||1:01.045||0.819|
|25||10||Niels LANGEVELD||Comtoyou Team Audi Sport||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||14||1:01.149||0.923|
|26||52||Gordon SHEDDEN||Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||15||1:01.346||1.120|
|27||21||Aurélien PANIS||Comtoyou DHL Team CUPRA Racing||CUPRA TCR||14||1:01.392||1.166|
|28||8||Augusto FARFUS||BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Racing Team||Hyundai i30 N TCR||9||1:01.864||1.638|
|29||50||Tom CORONEL||Comtoyou DHL Team CUPRA Racing||CUPRA TCR||13||1:01.955||1.729|