Esteban Guerrieri took pole position for the third Word Touring Car Cup (WTCR) race on Sunday, coming through the three-phase qualifying session with a lap time of 2 minutes 5.705 seconds in the top-five shootout.
First of all though, phase one of qualifying at the Hungaroring would decide the starting grid for the opening race of the weekend, and would eliminate the slowest ten cars from the remainder of the session.
Track conditions looked drier than they had done earlier in the day during practice, but the state of the circuit still very much called for wet weather tyres all-round.
Through the dark clouds, Guerrieri went fastest in Q1, securing pole position for that first race on Sunday as well, and an extra five championship points for his newly-revitalised title push.
In a repeat of both free practice sessions, Guerrieri was tailed by Mikel Azcona in second place, the Spaniard sealing a front-row start for Hungarian outfit Zengő Motorsport at their home event in race one.
The Cyan Racing Lynk & Co quartet had flown under the radar during practice, but third place in Q1 for Yann Ehrlacher hinted that the Swedish team may well have more pace at this circuit than they initially wanted to show.
A great showing from both Tiago Monteiro and Attila Tassi ensured that they would pick up the final points from this elimination round in fourth and fifth, separated by around five hundredths of a second.
Yvan Muller went sixth fastest in Q1, ahead of the fourth and final Honda of Néstor Girolami in seventh.
Santiago Urrutia was the next quickest man in eighth, ahead of Team Mulsanne’s Jean-Karl Vernay who continued to fly the flag for Alfa Romeo in ninth.
The top ten was completed by Nathanaël Berthon, the pace of the Audi now appearing to have succumbed to its latest increase in success ballast.
Berthon’s stablemate Gilles Magnus also made it into phase two in eleventh, while the final driver to progress into the next phase of qualifying was local driver Bence Boldizs.
Luca Engstler was the first of the drivers to be eliminated from qualifying in thirteenth position, meaning that not a single Hyundai driver would progress any further.
Hyundai stablemate, and reigning champion, Norbert Michelisz could only manage sixteenth position. Having to start from that grid slot in all three races, the Hungarian can surely sense any hope of a title defence slipping through his fingers.
Tom Coronel will also be downbeat with nineteenth having arrived at the track this weekend as the second-placed driver in the overall championship standings.
Moving onto phase two, Azcona led the way as the first driver to make it into the top-five shootout for pole, while Guerrieri traded places with him to go second fastest.
The rest of the top five would be rounded out by all three of Guerrieri’s Münnich Motorsport stablemates. Tassi led Girolami in third, while Monteiro beat Vernay to fifth by just over a tenth of a second.
Further back, Magnus and Berthon would lock-out row four on the race three starting grid, with seventh and eighth place respectively.
Cyan Racing, meanwhile, will lock-out the front row in the reversed-grid second race with Ehrlacher in ninth and Muller in tenth for race three.
There was then plenty of confusion in the WTCR paddock at the start of the top five shootout. Azcona was scheduled to leave first, but when he arrived at the end of the pit-lane he came to a complete stop for nearly a minute due to the fact that red lights were showing at the pit exit.
Tassi then left his pit garage, and the cars effectively left the pit-lane together – completely against the one-lap shootout format.
The Hungarian continued on to post a lap time of 2 minutes 6.267 seconds, however Azcona came straight back to the weighbridge without setting a time, and will therefore start race three from fifth.
Monteiro was next up to set a flying lap but ended up more than six tenths of a second off the pace set by Tassi, leaving it down to the two Argentines to see if they could knock the youngster off of pole position.
The two compatriots had their relationship tested last time out at the Slovakiaring, following a controversial inter-team battle in the opening race.
On that occasion, Girolami came off worse, and it was the same once again during this shoot-out. Appearing to overdrive the car somewhat, Girolami would end up slowest of the bunch behind Monteiro on the time sheets.
The final driver to set their lap time, Guerrieri brushed off the competition with ease, going over half a second quicker than Tassi, who would at least get a front-row start at his home event.
|1||86||Esteban GUERRIERI||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR||3||2:05.705||0.000|
|2||9||Attila TASSI||ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR||3||2:06.267||0.562|
|3||18||Tiago MONTEIRO||ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR||3||2:06.902||1.197|
|4||29||Néstor GIROLAMI||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR||3||2:06.986||1.281|
|5||96||Mikel AZCONA||Zengő Motorsport||CUPRA Leon Competición||1||No time||N/A|
|1||96||Mikel AZCONA||Zengő Motorsport||CUPRA Leon Competición||3||2:05.520||0.000|
|2||86||Esteban GUERRIERI||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR||3||2:05.870||0.350|
|3||9||Attila TASSI||ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR||5||2:06.211||0.691|
|4||29||Néstor GIROLAMI||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR||3||2:06.225||0.705|
|5||18||Tiago MONTEIRO||ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR||3||2:06.437||0.917|
|6||69||Jean-Karl VERNAY||Team Mulsanne||Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce TCR||4||2:06.697||1.177|
|7||16||Gilles MAGNUS||Comtoyou Racing||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||5||2:06.800||1.280|
|8||17||Nathanaël BERTHON||Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||4||2:07.063||1.543|
|9||68||Yann EHRLACHER||Cyan Racing||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||3||2:07.293||1.773|
|10||100||Yvan MULLER||Cyan Racing||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||3||2:07.327||1.807|
|11||55||Bence BOLDIZS||Zengő Motorsport||CUPRA Leon Competición||5||2:08.294||2.774|
|12||12||Santiago URRUTIA||Cyan Performance||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||2||No time||N/A|
|1||86||Esteban GUERRIERI||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR||8||2:05.665||0.000|
|2||96||Mikel AZCONA||Zengő Motorsport||CUPRA Leon Competición||8||2:06.184||0.519|
|3||68||Yann EHRLACHER||Cyan Racing||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||8||2:06.184||0.519|
|4||18||Tiago MONTEIRO||ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR||8||2:06.388||0.723|
|5||9||Attila TASSI||ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR||8||2:06.447||0.782|
|6||100||Yvan MULLER||Cyan Racing||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||7||2:06.607||0.942|
|7||29||Néstor GIROLAMI||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR||8||2:06.701||1.036|
|8||12||Santiago URRUTIA||Cyan Performance||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||8||2:06.789||1.124|
|9||69||Jean-Karl VERNAY||Team Mulsanne||Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce TCR||8||2:06.952||1.287|
|10||17||Nathanaël BERTHON||Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||8||2:06.998||1.333|
|11||16||Gilles MAGNUS||Comtoyou Racing||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||8||2:07.055||1.390|
|12||55||Bence BOLDIZS||Zengő Motorsport||CUPRA Leon Competición||8||2:07.478||1.813|
|13||8||Luca ENGSTLER||Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team||Hyundai i30 N TCR||8||2:07.588||1.923|
|14||30||Gabriele TARQUINI||BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse||Hyundai i30 N TCR||7||2:07.652||1.987|
|15||11||Thed BJÖRK||Cyan Performance||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||8||2:07.689||2.024|
|16||1||Norbert MICHELISZ||BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse||Hyundai i30 N TCR||8||2:07.799||2.134|
|17||34||Aurélien COMTE||Vuković Motorsport||Renault Mégane RS TCR||8||2:07.814||2.149|
|18||25||Luca FILIPPI||Team Mulsanne||Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce TCR||6||2:08.015||2.350|
|19||31||Tom CORONEL||Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||8||2:08.048||2.383|
|20||28||José Manuel SAPAG||Target Competition||Hyundai i30 N TCR||8||2:09.376||3.711|
|21||97||Nicolas GRUBER||Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team||Hyundai i30 N TCR||7||2:09.795||4.130|
|22||99||Gábor KISMARTY-LECHNER||Zengő Motorsport||CUPRA Leon Competición||8||2:10.360||4.695|