Norbert Michelisz will start the first of tomorrows two WTCC races at the Slovakia Ring from pole position. The Hungarian drivers BMW was the only car to break the 2:13 barrier during the two-part Qualifying session with
a time of 2:12.990.
The two SEAT León WTCC cars of Aleksei Dudukalo (2:13.076) and Gabriele Tarquini (2:13.137) completed the top three. Behind them there will be the Ford Focus of James Nash and the SUNRED León of Tiago Monteiro with Yvan Muller in the first of the factory Chevrolet Cruze cars starting from sixth on the grid.
Thanks to the reversed grid, it will be the BMW 320 TC of Stefano DAste that should have started Race 2 from pole position, but because of James Nash’s penalty it will be Tom Chilton on pole.
Q1 – The majority of Qualifying 1 was dominated by the three factory Chevrolet Cruze drivers, with Yvan Muller heading his teammates Robert Huff and Alain Menu. Then, with less than four minutes of the session remaining, the SEAT León of Pepe Oriola took over three-tenths of a second off Mullers time, with James Nashs Ford Focus also slipping past the current Drivers Championship leader. Tom Coronel narrowly missed out on making the cut for Q2; after being forced to pit with an open rear door early in the session, the BMW
driver was in 13th place and on a quick lap with less than 30 seconds remaining, but Franz Engstler going off into the gravel brought out the red flags and so Coronel was denied a place in the top 12.
Going through to Q2: Oriola, Nash, Muller, Huff, Menu, Dudukalo, Monteiro, Michelisz, DAste, Cerqui, Tarquini and Chilton.
Q2 – Norbert Michelisz in the Zengö Motorsport BMW 320 TC took his first-ever qualified pole position in the WTCC by setting a lap time of 2:12.990 a little over 0.08 seconds ahead of another of the Yokohama Trophy
competitors, Aleksei Dudukalo in the Lukoil Racing SEAT León. In all, there will be three León cars in the top 5, with Gabriele Tarquini third and Tiago Monteiro fifth in the SUNRED car (2:13.322), just behind the Team AON Ford Focus of James Nash (2:13.317).
The three factory Chevrolet drivers fared less well, with Yvan Muller qualifying in sixth place (2:13.366) ahead of Robert Huff (2:13.575) and Alain Menu in ninth place (2:13.721) just behind Pepe Oriola (2:13.684) but ahead of Stefano DAste (2:14.668).
NASHS PENALTY PUTS CHILTON ON POLE
Following the Q2 for tomorrows WTCC first race at the Slovakia Ring, the FIA Scrutineers discovered that the ride height on James Nashs Team AON Ford Focus did not conform to the WTCC regulations.
As a result, Nash has been given a penalty of ten grid positions for both of tomorrows races. He will therefore start from 14th place on the grid in both races.
Thanks to the reverse grid rule, the penalty means that Nashs teammate Tom Chilton will start Race 2 from
pole position after originally qualifying in 11th place.
EUROPEAN TOURING CAR CUP – ROUNDS 3 & 4
MONJE SETS POLE POSITION IN SLOVAKIA
Spains Fernando Monje will start tomorrows first race at the Slovakia Ring from pole position, aiming to increase his S2000 lead in the 2012 FIA European Touring Car Cup. Monje, driving a SUNRED SEAT León TDI, set the fastest lap time (2:15.086) early in the thirty-minute Qualifying session and then spent anxious minutes in the pit lane waiting to see if his time would be bettered. It wasnt, so Monje was able to save his tyres for tomorrows two races.
The front row for Race 1 will be an all-SEAT affair, after the second quickest time was set by Michal Matějovský (2:16.215). The Czech driver, is making his ETCC debut in Slovakia this weekend and so was delighted at his performance. Both SEAT men, however, are aware that third-placed Petr Fulín (2:16.822) will be a real threat tomorrow; his BMW needed an engine change this morning and so he hadnt completed many laps of the circuit, but the fact that he set the fastest time in the first test session confirmed that Fulín should be a real contender for a race win.
Three drivers had their qualifying times disallowed by the Stewards: Fulín, Krammes and Lukas.