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Mikel Azcona thinking of the championship after first pole of the year

Hyundai’s Mikel Azcona is aiming for at least a podium visit in the FIA World Touring Car Cup races at the Hungaroring, after claiming his first pole position of the season.

Azcona, who is currently second in the drivers’ standings, six points shy of the top, qualified his Elantra N TCR a tenth of a second clear of the Audi of Nathanaël Berthon on Saturday in Budapest.

The Spaniard had earlier been a consistent fourth fastest in both of the day’s earlier practice sessions, and got steadily quicker in qualifying, after ending Q1 in fifth and Q2 in fourth.

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Come Q3, his job was made easier by the fact that rivals Esteban Guerrieri and Gilles Magnus, who was quickest in Q2, lost their lap times due to exceeding track limits.

That meant Azcona had already believed his lap wasn’t good enough for pole, but he ended up with the top time by 0.128 seconds.

“I’m really happy about the qualifying,” said Azcona. “I was a bit disappointed after I did a mistake at the chicane because I said, ‘OK, it’s game over’.

“I’m sorry for Esteban and Gilles that they lost their laps to track limits. But in the end it’s a really good result for us.”

Despite having the best starting position for Sunday’s opening race, Azcona says he would be content with finishing on the podium.

“Starting on the pole position for the first race we want to try to lead and finish on the podium at least, looking ahead to the championship.

“I’m very pleased for the team, they were super-good to give me an amazing car. Thanks to Hyundai and BRC because the car was working very well, and that’s good to start the weekend and we need to finish the work.”

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