Gabriele Tarquini will start from pole position in the first of tomorrow’s two FIA WTCC races at the Slovakia Ring. Alongside him on the grid will be his Castrol Honda team-mate Tiago Monteiro after the pair dominated both parts of the two-stage Qualifying session. Making it an all-Honda top three will be Norbert Michelisz, who qualified just twelve-hundredths of a second slower than Monteiro.
This was Tarquini’s and Honda’s second consecutive pole position after Marrakech.
The leading Yokohama Trophy competitor will be Alex MacDowall, whose bamboo-engineering Chevrolet Cruze qualified sixth. Thanks to the reversed grid, it will be the BMW 320 TC of Tom Coronel that will start Race 2 from pole position.
The session got off to a dramatic start when the BMW of Darryl O’Young made heavy contact with the barrier on the outside of Turn 9 after only around five minutes. The incident brought out the red flags and, after a pause of around half an hour, the session resumed with O’Young having been taken to the circuit medical centre for a precautionary check-up.
Tarquini and Monteiro were soon lying first and second, with the two RML Chevrolet Cruze cars of Yvan Muller and Tom Chilton third and fifth and the driver who was on pole position for the first WTCC race here last year, Norbert Michelisz, sandwiched between the pair in fourth.
The following drivers went through to Q2: Tarquini, Monteiro, Muller, Michelisz, Chilton, MacDowall, Huff, Nykjær, Oriola, Nash, Coronel and Bennani.
Tarquini’s pole-winning time (2:10.773) occurred on his first flying lap, with Monteiro (2:10.877) also setting his best time on the same lap. Michelisz (2:10.889) was third quickest in the Zengö Motorsport Honda Civic with Muller’s Chevrolet (2:10.941) the best non-Honda. Chilton (2:11.162) rounded off the top five, with Alex MacDowall (2:11.422), Rob Huff (2:11.624), James Nash (2:11.714), Pepe Oriola (2:11.882) and Tom Coronel (2:12.048) completing the top ten. Mehdi Bennani (2:12.857) was eleventh fastest and Michel Nykjaer (2:17.614) twelfth.
GRID PENALTIES FOR HUFF AND MONJE
Rob Huff and Fernando Monje will be all dropped on the grid for tomorrow’s first race. Huff will lose ten places because his car failed the ride height check during today’s qualifying. Monje will be demoted five places following the penalty he was given for colliding with James Thompson’s LADA during the second race at Marrakech.
ETCC – FULÍN TAKES ANOTHER POLE AT SLOVAKIA RING
Just as on the opening race weekend in Monza, pole position for the first of tomorrow’s two ETCC races at the Slovakia Ring will be occupied by Petr Fulín, whose Super 2000 BMW 320si set the fastest lap time in Qualifying (2:16.260). There was, however, mixed news for the Krenek Motorsport team as Fulín’s teammate Michal Matějovský went off at Turn 7 on only his first quick lap and took no further part in the session.
Fulín had previous been fastest in both the first Testing session and in Free Practice, so will clearly be the driver to beat tomorrow. He set the pole-winning time on only his second lap and then sat out much of the half-hour session to see if his rivals could better his time. The only other driver to beat the 2:17.000 barrier was Mat’o Homola (2:16.754) and so, just as in Monza,
the Slovak driver will line up alongside Fulín on the grid.
The Single-Make Trophy for SEAT León Supercópa cars saw the top three covered by less than a second. Aurélien Comte (2:17.153) was the fastest SMT driver and third overall, ahead of Andreas Pfister (2:17.906) and Jordi Oriola (2:18.142).
In the Super 1600 category, Kevin Krammes claimed his second consecutive pole. The reigning champion was in a league of his own, as he improved the fastest lap three times until clocking a 2:31.968 that was enough to beat ‘Romeo Luciano’ and Ulrike Krafft.