Santiago Urrutia has claimed both outright pole positions for races one and three tomorrow, while Yvan Muller will lead from the front in race two at Motorland Aragón thanks to the reversed grid.
The final FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) qualifying session of 2020 got underway cleanly in phase one, with no yellow-flag periods to speak of. The first part of qualifying wasn’t without drama however, as Esteban Guerrieri – the man in second place in the championship standings – could do no better than seventeenth on the time sheets.
The Argentine will therefore start from the corresponding grid slot in each of Sunday’s three races. Already, his title hopes would appear to be fading…
However, at the other end of the scale, the top three bore a familiar resemblance to the order from free practice two. Urrutia was quickest by just six thousandths of a second over Jean-Karl Vernay, securing a front row lock-out for the pair in race one. Mikel Azcona tailed them in third.
Muller wound up fourth quickest in Q1, just ahead of championship leader Yann Ehrlacher in fifth, who will therefore add another point to his tally.
In the midfield, Bence Boldizs was twelfth fastest in the opening phase, earning himself the final spot to progress into Q2, narrowly beating Tom Coronel to the cut-off point.
Behind the pair of them, Attila Tassi went fourteenth quickest, but the Hungarian will start race one from the back of the grid anyway due to an engine change penalty.
Onto the second phase of qualifying then, and the battle was on to get into the top five shoot-out for race three pole.
With a lap time of 2 minutes 13.474, Vernay was the first driver to claim his place, while the stalwart of the weekend so far, Urrutia, joined him as the second fastest driver in Q2.
Having left it to the very last minute to set a flying lap, Thed Björk booked his place in the shoot-out with a last-ditch vault up into third, just one hundredth of a second faster than Ehrlacher.
Nathanaël Berthon was the last driver to make the cut in fifth, ahead of Mikel Azcona who may well be disappointed with sixth given his earlier form.
The best of the Hyundai bunch was Gabriele Tarquini in seventh, while Gilles Magnus will start race three from eighth.
Outgoing champion Norbert Michelisz was ninth fastest, but he will share the front row of the reversed grid in race two with Muller, who earns pole position by finishing tenth.
Néstor Girolami could do no better than twelfth, really highlighting the struggles that Honda have had at the Aragón circuit, being beaten to eleventh place by young rookie Boldizs.
In the shoot-out, Vernay was the first driver to set his benchmark lap time. Or rather, he was meant to be. At the very first bend, the Frenchman suffered from a twitch of oversteer, ruining his lap before it had even really begun. Knowing this, Vernay bailed out of the attempt, and so it was up to Ehrlacher to put the first lap time on the board.
The champion-elect showed exactly why he’s the favourite to claim overall victory this year, posting a stunning lap time of 2 minutes 13.623. That should have been enough for him to grab race three pole with relative ease, however Berthon wasn’t going to concede without a fight. Ending just a tenth of a second off the pace. Had he not taken turn one quite so conservatively, the Audi driver could well have stolen pole.
However, where Berthon failed, Ehrlacher’s own team-mate Urrutia would succeed. Able to go nearly two tenths of a second clear, the Uruguayan would double-up with two outright pole positions this weekend. With Muller claiming the reversed-grid pole too, Cyan Racing had pulled off a qualifying clean sweep.
Fellow Lynk & Co driver Björk wasn’t too far behind either in fourth, but overall, the championship state of play looks as though it is exceedingly swinging towards Ehrlacher and the Swedish team.
Race one gets underway on Sunday morning at 09:15 CEST (08:15 GMT).
|1||12||Santiago URRUTIA||Cyan Performance||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||3||2:13.471||0.000|
|2||68||Yann EHRLACHER||Cyan Racing||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||3||2:13.623||0.152|
|3||17||Nathanaël BERTHON||Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||3||2:13.754||0.283|
|4||11||Thed BJÖRK||Cyan Performance||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||3||2:13.771||0.300|
|5||69||Jean-Karl VERNAY||Team Mulsanne||Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce TCR||2||No time||N/A|
|1||69||Jean-Karl VERNAY||Team Mulsanne||Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce TCR||4||2:13.474||0.000|
|2||12||Santiago URRUTIA||Cyan Performance||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||3||2:13.725||0.251|
|3||11||Thed BJÖRK||Cyan Performance||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||4||2:13.979||0.505|
|4||68||Yann EHRLACHER||Cyan Racing||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||3||2:13.988||0.514|
|5||17||Nathanaël BERTHON||Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||4||2:14.006||0.532|
|6||96||Mikel AZCONA||Zengő Motorsport||CUPRA Leon Competición||4||2:14.058||0.584|
|7||30||Gabriele TARQUINI||BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse||Hyundai i30 N TCR||4||2:14.147||0.673|
|8||16||Gilles MAGNUS||Comtoyou Racing||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||3||2:14.298||0.824|
|9||1||Norbert MICHELISZ||BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse||Hyundai i30 N TCR||5||2:14.324||0.850|
|10||100||Yvan MULLER||Cyan Racing||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||3||2:14.610||1.136|
|11||55||Bence BOLDIZS||Zengő Motorsport||CUPRA Leon Competición||4||2:14.643||1.169|
|12||29||Néstor GIROLAMI||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR||4||2:15.178||1.704|
|1||12||Santiago URRUTIA||Cyan Performance||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||7||2:13.813||0.000|
|2||69||Jean-Karl VERNAY||Team Mulsanne||Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce TCR||7||2:13.819||0.006|
|3||96||Mikel AZCONA||Zengő Motorsport||CUPRA Leon Competición||8||2:14.070||0.257|
|4||100||Yvan MULLER||Cyan Racing||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||7||2:14.155||0.342|
|5||68||Yann EHRLACHER||Cyan Racing||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||7||2:14.164||0.351|
|6||17||Nathanaël BERTHON||Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||7||2:14.305||0.492|
|7||11||Thed BJÖRK||Cyan Performance||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||7||2:14.307||0.494|
|8||16||Gilles MAGNUS||Comtoyou Racing||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||6||2:14.473||0.660|
|9||1||Norbert MICHELISZ||BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse||Hyundai i30 N TCR||7||2:14.526||0.713|
|10||30||Gabriele TARQUINI||BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse||Hyundai i30 N TCR||7||2:14.691||0.878|
|11||29||Néstor GIROLAMI||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR||8||2:14.939||1.126|
|12||55||Bence BOLDIZS||Zengő Motorsport||CUPRA Leon Competición||7||2:14.995||1.182|
|13||31||Tom CORONEL||Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||7||2:15.095||1.282|
|14||9||Attila TASSI||ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR||7||2:15.105||1.292|
|15||8||Luca ENGSTLER||Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team||Hyundai i30 N TCR||7||2:15.186||1.373|
|16||18||Tiago MONTEIRO||ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR||7||2:15.309||1.496|
|17||34||Aurélien COMTE||Vuković Motorsport||Renault Mégane RS TCR||5||2:15.362||1.549|
|18||86||Esteban GUERRIERI||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR||7||2:15.369||1.556|
|19||25||Luca FILIPPI||Team Mulsanne||Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce TCR||6||2:15.516||1.703|
|20||27||Mitchell CHEAH Min Jie||Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team||Hyundai i30 N TCR||7||2:16.831||3.018|
|21||28||José Manuel SAPAG||Target Competition||Hyundai i30 N TCR||7||2:16.960||3.147|
|22||99||Gábor KISMARTY-LECHNER||Zengő Motorsport||CUPRA Leon Competición||4||No time||N/A|