Qualifying clean-sweep for Lynk & Co as Santiago Urrutia and Yvan Muller share poles

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…

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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).

Q3 results

POS NO DRIVER NAT ENTRANT CAR LAPS TIME GAP
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

Q2 results

POS NO DRIVER NAT ENTRANT CAR LAPS TIME GAP
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

Q1 results

POS NO DRIVER NAT ENTRANT CAR LAPS TIME GAP
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
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