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Hungaroring WTCC: Yvan Muller claims pole for Citroen

Yvan Muller, Citroen, Hungaroring WTCC 2014

Reigning World Touring Car champion Yvan Muller achieved his second consecutive pole position for Citroen at the Hungaroring.

The Alsace driver set a stunning first sector time en route to a pole time of 1m48.727s.

Championship leader and Q1 pacesetter Jose Maria Lopez finished just 0.034 seconds adrift in second, while former World Rally Championship king Sebastien Loeb completed a Citroen lock-out of the top three.

After inheriting pole when his Citroen team-mates encountered scrutineering difficulties at Paul Ricard a fortnight ago, Muller took satisfaction in the manner of his latest success.

"I am pleased to open my real pole account for the season," said Muller.

The meeting is the first occasion where Citroen has carried 60kg of compensation weight. Muller stated that simulations had shown a 0.8s per lap penalty because of the weight.

Honda produced a much improved showing in Hungary over its early season efforts. Gabriele Tarquini's final Q2 lap secured the Italian top billing on the timing screens, and factory JAS team-mate Tiago Monteiro appeared competitive in third.

Tarquini's performance could not be maintained in the decisive Q3 session for the five fastest Q2 runners, where he was over a second slower than his Q2 effort after a scruffy lap. He finished behind Monteiro in fifth.

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Customer Honda runner Mehdi Bennani threatened to cause an upset by bumping Loeb from Q3. The Moroccan Proteam driver had to settle for a still impressive sixth in Q2, ahead of leading Chevrolet driver Tom Chilton.

Reigate driver Chilton, who headed a gaggle of five RML-built Cruzes in the second segment of qualifying, was partnered by ROAL team-mate Tom Coronel for the first time since the Marrakech season opener.

Dutchman Coronel was ruled out of round two in France owing to a heavy crash in Morocco, but personnel at ROAL and RML worked long hours to ready a new car for the WTCC veteran in time for Hungary.

After a shock absorber problem on Friday, Coronel finished behind Chilton in eighth.

Provisional 10th-place qualifier Dusan Borkovic's Q1 and Q2 times were cancelled after his Campos Chevrolet failed a ground clearance check, moving his team-mate Hugo Valente both up a position and onto reversed-grid pole.

On the circuit where he scored his lone Formula Renault 3.5 win, series returnee Pasquale di Sabatino took the TC2 pole honours for Engstler Motorsport.

Pos  Driver                Team/Car           Time       Gap
 1.  Yvan Muller           Citroen            1m48.727s
 2.  Jose Maria Lopez      Citroen            1m48.761s  +0.034s
 3.  Sebastien Loeb        Citroen            1m49.113s  +0.386s
 4.  Tiago Monteiro        Honda              1m49.166s  +0.439s
 5.  Gabriele Tarquini     Honda              1m50.576s  +1.849s
 6.  Mehdi Bennani         Proteam Honda      1m49.745s  Q2
 7.  Tom Chilton           ROAL Chevrolet     1m49.757s  Q2
 8.  Tom Coronel           ROAL Chevrolet     1m50.428s  Q2
 9.  Gianni Morbidelli     Munnich Chevrolet  1m50.728s  Q2
10.  Dusan Borkovic        Campos Chevrolet   1m51.937s  Q2**
11.  Hugo Valente          Campos Chevrolet   1m52.123s  Q2
12.  Norbert Michelisz     Zengo Honda                   Q2
13.  Rob Huff              Lada               1m50.908s  Q1
14.  James Thompson        Lada               1m50.995s  Q1
15.  Rene Munnich          Munnich Chevrolet  1m51.123s  Q1
16.  Mikhail Kozlovskiy    Lada               1m52.451s  Q1
17.  Pasquale di Sabatino  Engstler BMW       1m54.584s  Q1*
18.  Franz Engstler        Engstler BMW       1m55.121s  Q1*
19.  Yukinori Taniguchi    Nika Honda         1m56.561s  Q1*
20.  John Filippi          Campos SEAT        1m56.588s  Q1*

* TC2
** Later disqualified
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