Lopez storms WTCC qualifying, Bennani to start first race from pole

Citroen's Jose Maria Lopez claimed his second pole position of the 2016 World Touring Car Championship season at the Hungaroring

Lopez storms WTCC qualifying, Bennani to start first race from pole

Lopez was in a class of his own in the third part of qualifying, the pole position shootout, setting a best time of 1m46.109s which was 0.6 seconds faster than any of his rivals could manage.

Pole is the Argentinian's first in Hungary, and the five extra points he receives as a result move him to the head of the championship standings ahead of Honda's Tiago Monteiro.

Tom Coronel claimed a place on the front row for tomorrow's main race second place in his ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet Cruze, having edged out the two Honda Civics of Rob Huff and Monteiro.

Thed Bjork, making his and Polestar's first appearance in Q3, was fifth in his Volvo S60 after running first in the pole position shootout.

The Swede secured the last slot in the shootout with an early lap in the second part of qualifying, and while he is set to start from the rear of the opening race grid after taking an engine change, he will keep his qualifying position for the main race.

Late improvements for Huff and Monteiro meaning home favourite Norbert Michelisz was forced to settle for sixth on the main race grid after he was bumped out of the Q2 top five.

Nicky Catsburg was the best of Lada's contingent, taking seventh in his Vesta, while Yvan Muller could only manage eighth in the second factory Citroen C-Elysee.

The Frenchman scraped into the second part of qualifying after Lada's Hugo Valente and Campos Racing's John Filippi failed to improve significantly to displace him, but Muller, who had to abort his first run in Q1, could not take advantage of his second chance - although he will start Sunday's opening reversed-grid race from third.

Fredrik Ekblom was ninth in the second Volvo S60 Polestar ahead of Mehdi Bennani, who edged out Sebastien Loeb Racing team-mate Tom Chilton for 10th and will start from the reversed-grid pole.

CITROEN TOPS TIME TRIAL BEFORE PENALTY

In the MAC3 time trial, Citroen took a provisional victory ahead of Honda and Lada - although it later had that chalked off for a track limits infringement.

UPDATE: Citroen loses MAC3 win

Yvan Muller completed the French marque's run in a time of 3m41.538s to hand Citroen what would have been it's third win in as many rounds - although both its and Lada's runs were later investigated by the stewards before Bennani and Valente - who false started - were both handed 30-second penalties.

After Bennani had dropped off the back of his factory counterparts in the first two runs of the time trial in France and Slovakia, he slotted between Lopez and Muller at the start of Citroen's two laps and clung on well to Lopez who led the train.

They crossed the line comfortably clear of Lada's effort, and although the Honda trio were initially quicker through the opening two splits, they gradually fell away.

Monteiro was last of the Honda drivers to cross the line, completing its run 0.174s slower than Citroen - which until Citroen's penalty had been the largest margin of victory in MAC3 since its adoption at the start of the season.

Citroen having pipped Lada by 0.030s at Paul Ricard, before it and Honda recorded identical times last weekend at the Slovakia Ring.

RACE ONE STARTING GRID

Pos Driver Team Car
1 Mehdi Bennani Sebastien Loeb Racing Citroen
2 Fredrik Ekblom Polestar Cyan Racing Volvo
3 Yvan Muller Citroen Racing Citroen
4 Nicky Catsburg LADA Sport Lada
5 Norbert Michelisz Honda Racing Team JAS Honda
6 Tiago Monteiro Honda Racing Team JAS Honda
7 Rob Huff Honda Racing Team JAS Honda
8 Tom Coronel ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet
9 Jose Maria Lopez Citroen Racing Citroen
10 Tom Chilton Sebastien Loeb Racing Citroen
11 Gabriele Tarquini LADA Sport Lada
12 Hugo Valente LADA Sport Lada
13 John Filippi Campos Racing Chevrolet
14 Rene Munnich Munnich Motorsport Chevrolet
15 Ferenc Ficza Zengo Motorsport Honda
16 Gregoire Demoustier Sebastien Loeb Racing Citroen
17 Thed Bjork Polestar Cyan Racing Volvo

RACE TWO STARTING GRID

Pos Driver Team Car Time Gap
1 Jose Maria Lopez Citroen Racing Citroen 1m46.109s -
2 Tom Coronel ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet 1m46.718s 0.609s
3 Rob Huff Honda Racing Team JAS Honda 1m46.833s 0.724s
4 Tiago Monteiro Honda Racing Team JAS Honda 1m46.895s 0.786s
5 Thed Bjork Polestar Cyan Racing Volvo 1m46.980s 0.871s
6 Nicky Catsburg LADA Sport Lada 1m46.725s -
7 Yvan Muller Citroen Racing Citroen 1m46.824s -
8 Fredrik Ekblom Polestar Cyan Racing Volvo 1m46.831s -
9 Mehdi Bennani Sebastien Loeb Racing Citroen 1m47.078s -
10 Tom Chilton Sebastien Loeb Racing Citroen 1m47.159s -
11 Gabriele Tarquini LADA Sport Lada 1m47.170s -
12 Hugo Valente LADA Sport Lada 1m47.484s -
13 John Filippi Campos Racing Chevrolet 1m47.704s -
14 Gregoire Demoustier Sebastien Loeb Racing Citroen 1m47.751s -
15 Rene Munnich Munnich Motorsport Chevrolet 1m47.900s -
16 Ferenc Ficza Zengo Motorsport Honda 1m48.707s -
17 Norbert Michelisz Honda Racing Team JAS Honda 1m46.597s -

shares
comments
Hungaroring WTCC: Bjork denies Tarquini practice clean sweep

Previous article

Hungaroring WTCC: Bjork denies Tarquini practice clean sweep

Next article

Citroen track limits penalty hands Honda first outright MAC3 win

Citroen track limits penalty hands Honda first outright MAC3 win
Load comments
Why joker laps are entering the mainstream Plus

Why joker laps are entering the mainstream

This season the World Touring Car Championship looks certain to bring joker laps to a circuit-racing world championship for the first time. And it need not be the daft gimmick people may think

WTCC
Apr 6, 2017
The making of the world's best tin-top driver Plus

The making of the world's best tin-top driver

He has been overshadowed at Citroen for the last three seasons, but the retirement of Yvan Muller means the world says farewell to one of touring-car racing's finest talents

WTCC
Sep 26, 2016
Volvo's plan to conquer the WTCC Plus

Volvo's plan to conquer the WTCC

Volvo gave the World Touring Car Championship a major boost when it announced it would enter the series, but its ambitions don't stop there. JACK COZENS examines its programme, the S60 and what its arrival means for the WTCC

WTCC
Jan 18, 2016
The WTCC's Nordschleife gamble paid off Plus

The WTCC's Nordschleife gamble paid off

A 17-car field on a 13-mile track - the WTCC's Nurburgring Nordschleife gamble wasn't going to be easy to pull off. STUART CODLING explains how the series made it work

WTCC
May 20, 2015
Insight from a Nordschleife master Plus

Insight from a Nordschleife master

World championship racing returns to the Nordschleife this weekend. STUART CODLING got a lesson from one of the legendary track's few masters

WTCC
May 15, 2015
Becoming world champion for £100k Plus

Becoming world champion for £100k

The 2012 World Touring Car champion says he never had the money to race cars. Yet 2015 is his 11th season in the WTCC. He talks STUART CODLING through his journey from motorsport fan to paid professional - for little more than £100,000

WTCC
Mar 23, 2015
Can the vanquished champion bounce back? Plus

Can the vanquished champion bounce back?

The World Touring Car Championship kicks off in Argentina this weekend, and Yvan Muller bids to reclaim his throne from Citroen team-mate Jose Maria Lopez. He talks to STUART CODLING

WTCC
Mar 6, 2015
The top 10 WTCC drivers of 2014 Plus

The top 10 WTCC drivers of 2014

Citroen had no rivals during the 2014 World Touring Car Championship, and 'rookie' Jose Maria Lopez hit the ground running to emerge as a worthy champion. PETER MILLS rates the field

WTCC
Dec 3, 2014