BRC Racing’s Norbert Michelisz took over the lead of the TCR World Tour drivers’ standings by securing pole position in qualifying on Friday, with the Hyundai team enjoying a 1-2 result with Mikel Azcona in second.
The Italian Hyundai team had earlier locked out the top times in an incident-free Q1, with Azcona leading the timesheets on a lap of 2 minutes 28.708 seconds, just 0.045 seconds ahead of his title-chasing team-mate.
In Q2, the duo went even faster, with Michelisz ultimately improving on his first effort of 2:28.504 to put in a time of 2:27.966 – the only driver to dip into the 2:27s on the demanding Circuito da Guia street circuit.
The second part of the session had been briefly interrupted by a red flag stoppage, which came when wildcard entrant Marco Butti crashed his Hyundai into the barriers at the Curva Dona Maria.
Cyan Racing’s Yann Ehrlacher was the best of the rest, putting his Lynk & Co in third with a lap 0.330 seconds slower than Michelisz, ahead of the Honda of Néstor Girolami in fourth, the MacPro Racing driver having not gone out again after the red flag stoppage.
Pole for Michelisz sees him move six points clear at the top of the drivers’ standings, with Ehrlacher now in second and a frustrated Rob Huff, who qualified his Comtoyou Racing Audi in fifth, now third, ten points back.
Although Huff was the quickest Audi, the Brit was nine tenths off the pace in Q2, having only found a further three tenths from Q2, whilst his rivals went at least seven tenths faster.
Cyan Racing’s Ma Qing Hua was sixth quickest, 1.4 seconds adrift, ahead of Comtoyou’s Frédéric Vervisch in seventh.
John Filippi beat two of the TCR World Tour regulars to put his Audi in eighth, with the top ten being completed by Cyan Racing’s Thed Björk and Santiago Urrutia. That gives the latter two Lynk & Co drivers the reverse-grid pole position for Sunday’s second race.
Ben Bargwanna was 11th fastest in the sole Peugeot in the field, the Australian over four seconds slower than Michelisz. Butti will start from 12th for both races in the Hyundai being run by BRC Racing on loan from Z.SPEED Racing this weekend.
Lo Sze Ho had briefly looked set to progress into Q2 until Bargwanna made a late Q1 improvement, the Hong Kong TCR Asia Challenge winner ultimately ending up 13th in his Hyundai, just under three seconds from the Q1 pace.
Fancy Teamwork’s Yan Chuang was 14th, ahead of Teamwork’s Hong Kong ace Paul Poon Tak Chun, QMA Motorsport’s Ken Tian Kai, 109 Racing’s Deng Bao Wei and Z.SPEED’s Li Weng Ji in 18th at the rear of the field.
Race one is scheduled to get underway at 12:50 local time (04:50 GMT, 05:50 CET) on Saturday, followed by race two on Sunday.
|1||105||Norbert MICHELISZ||BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse||Hyundai Elantra N TCR||6||2:27.966||–|
|2||196||Mikel AZCONA||BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse||Hyundai Elantra N TCR||7||2:28.038||0.072|
|3||168||Yann EHRLACHER||Cyan Racing Lynk & Co||Lynk & Co 03 FL TCR||6||2:28.296||0.330|
|4||129||Néstor GIROLAMI||MacPro Racing||Honda Civic Type-R FL5 TCR||3||2:28.712||0.746|
|5||179||Rob HUFF||Audi Sport Comtoyou||Audi RS3 LMS TCR II||7||2:28.873||0.907|
|6||155||MA Qing Hua||Cyan Racing Lynk & Co||Lynk & Co 03 FL TCR||7||2:29.407||1.441|
|7||122||Frédéric VERVISCH||Audi Sport Comtoyou||Audi RS3 LMS TCR II||7||2:29.675||1.709|
|8||27||John FILIPPI||Audi Sport Comtoyou||Audi RS3 LMS TCR II||7||2:30.088||2.122|
|9||111||Thed BJÖRK||Cyan Racing Lynk & Co||Lynk & Co 03 FL TCR||7||2:30.185||2.219|
|10||112||Santiago URRUTIA||Cyan Racing Lynk & Co||Lynk & Co 03 FL TCR||7||2:30.636||2.670|
|11||71||Ben BARGWANNA||Team Clairet Sport – Hangcha Racing||Peugeot 308 TCR||5||2:32.330||4.364|
|12||18||Marco BUTTI||BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse||Hyundai Elantra N TCR||1||No time||N/A|
|1||196||Mikel AZCONA||BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse||Hyundai Elantra N TCR||8||2:28.708||–|
|2||105||Norbert MICHELISZ||BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse||Hyundai Elantra N TCR||8||2:28.753||0.045|
|3||155||MA Qing Hua||Cyan Racing Lynk & Co||Lynk & Co 03 FL TCR||10||2:29.082||0.374|
|4||179||Rob HUFF||Audi Sport Comtoyou||Audi RS3 LMS TCR II||11||2:29.183||0.475|
|5||168||Yann EHRLACHER||Cyan Racing Lynk & Co||Lynk & Co 03 FL TCR||9||2:29.279||0.571|
|6||122||Frédéric VERVISCH||Audi Sport Comtoyou||Audi RS3 LMS TCR II||10||2:29.309||0.601|
|7||129||Néstor GIROLAMI||MacPro Racing||Honda Civic Type-R FL5 TCR||10||2:29.869||1.161|
|8||111||Thed BJÖRK||Cyan Racing Lynk & Co||Lynk & Co 03 FL TCR||10||2:30.163||1.455|
|9||112||Santiago URRUTIA||Cyan Racing Lynk & Co||Lynk & Co 03 FL TCR||9||2:30.554||1.846|
|10||27||John FILIPPI||Audi Sport Comtoyou||Audi RS3 LMS TCR II||10||2:30.799||2.091|
|11||71||Ben BARGWANNA||Team Clairet Sport – Hangcha Racing||Peugeot 308 TCR||11||2:30.805||2.097|
|12||18||Marco BUTTI||BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse||Hyundai Elantra N TCR||10||2:31.406||2.698|
|13||1||LO Sze Ho||Evolve Racing||Hyundai Elantra N TCR||9||2:31.551||2.843|
|14||22||YAN Chuang||Fancy Teamwork||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||11||2:35.228||6.520|
|15||21||Paul POON Tak Chun||Teamwork Motorsport||Audi RS3 LMS TCR II||7||2:36.481||7.773|
|16||15||Ken TIAN Kai||QMA Motorsports||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||4||2:40.567||11.859|
|17||33||DENG Bao Wei||109 Racing||Honda Civic Type-R FK7 TCR||10||2:41.705||12.997|
|18||6||LI Weng Ji||Z.SPEED Team||Hyundai i30 N TCR||7||2:48.625||19.917|