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Flurry of penalties hands reverse-grid pole to Yvan Muller

Yvan Muller will start the opening World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) race from pole position, following the disqualification of team-mate Santiago Urrutia from qualifying.

Muller had ended the twilight session as the eleventh fastest driver on the track, however the removal of Urrutia from the timesheets promotes him up into tenth. Crucially, this means pole position for the partially-reversed grid opening race that gets underway later today at 15:40 BST (16:40 CEST).

Urrutia himself had qualified in seventh position, but his failure to arrive at the weighbridge during qualifying would result in him being stripped of all of his lap times. In addition to receiving one penalty point on his license, the Uruguayan will now have to start both of the Nürburgring races from the tail-end of the field.

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Elsewhere, further grid penalties were applied to several other drivers for race one.

Nathanaël Berthon, for instance, drops down from what would have been second place on the grid alongside Muller to eighth, following an infringement of the Code-60 rules. It was adjudged by track officials that the Frenchman had not slowed down sufficiently during the enforced slow-zone where Jack Young’s Renault had gone off into the gravel, and as such, a penalty was inevitable.

Young himself actually had his earlier penalty on Thursday overturned, which had been given to him for causing the Code 60 caution. However, the Vuković Motorsport driver actually went off due to a puncture, and the overturned penalty gives him 13th back in the classification.

Berthon was not the only driver to fall foul of a Code-60 violation though. Zengő Motorsport’s Mikel Azcona and Team Mulsanne’s Jean-Karl Vernay were also penalised for the same offence. Azcona managed to compound his woes further by infringing pitlane safety guidelines, resulting in a combined penalty which drops him down from fifth place to thirteenth for race one. Vernay, meanwhile, was always going to be starting from the back of the grid anyway, following an engine change for his Alfa Romeo.

Also requiring an engine replacement for his CUPRA, Gábor Kismarty-Lechner will join Vernay on the back row for race one.

The starting order for the opening WTCR race of the weekend is therefore much changed from the initial results of qualifying.

Esteban Guerrieri is one of the key beneficiaries as he will now join Muller on the front row of the grid, while row two will be comprised of Tom Coronel in third and Thed Björk in fourth. Race two pole-sitter Néstor Girolami is another driver to gain out of this. The Argentine will now be starting the reversed-grid opener from seventh place instead of tenth.

Revised qualifying results

1 29 Néstor GIROLAMI ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 2 8:51.802 0.000
2 68 Yann EHRLACHER Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 03 TCR 1 8:52.965 1.163
3 9 Attila TASSI ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 2 8:54.091 2.289
4 11 Thed BJÖRK Cyan Performance Lynk & Co 03 TCR 2 8:54.870 3.068
5 31 Tom CORONEL Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport Audi RS3 LMS TCR 2 8:55.087 3.285
6 96 Mikel AZCONA Zengő Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competición 1 8:55.241 3.439
7 86 Esteban GUERRIERI ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 2 8:55.590 3.788
8 69 Jean-Karl VERNAY Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce TCR 2 8:56.264 4.462
9 17 Nathanaël BERTHON Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport Audi RS3 LMS TCR 2 8:56.377 4.575
10 100 Yvan MULLER Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 03 TCR 2 8:56.981 5.179
11 16 Gilles MAGNUS Comtoyou Racing Audi RS3 LMS TCR 2 8:58.999 7.197
12 18 Tiago MONTEIRO ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 2 9:02.573 10.771
13 7 Jack YOUNG Vuković Motorsport Renault Mégane RS TCR 1 9:05.523 13.721
14 99 Gábor KISMARTY-LECHNER Zengő Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competición 1 10:40.456 48.654
15 55 Bence BOLDIZS Zengő Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competición 0 No time N/A
16 12 Santiago URRUTIA Cyan Performance Lynk & Co 03 TCR 2 Disallowed N/A
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