Slovakia WTCC: Yvan Muller beats Jose Maria Lopez to pole

Yvan Muller beat Citroen team-mate and World Touring Car Championship title rival Jose Maria Lopez to pole by two tenths of a second in a tense Q3 shootout in Slovakia

Slovakia WTCC: Yvan Muller beats Jose Maria Lopez to pole

Sebastien Loeb placed his C-Elysee third on the grid and, with 60kg of compensation weight noticeably blunting the competitive edge of Honda's Civics, Lada provided the biggest challenge to Citroen as Rob Huff and Nicky Catsburg lined up fourth and fifth.

Factory Honda driver Tiago Monteiro and Hungaroring race-two winner Norbert Michelisz were the most prominent casualties of Q1.

Monteiro struggled to set a top-10 time on his first set of fresh rubber and could not improve his position, even after trying a second run with new front tyres.

Michelisz ended the first part of the session just outside the top 12 cut-off, demoted thanks to a late effort by WTCC debutant Mato Homola, who showed an impressive turn of pace in his 2014-spec Chevrolet Cruze.

Another WTCC newcomer, Argentine Super TC2000 champion Nestor Girolami, also exited in Q1, aborting his final effort to escape the elimination zone.

That left just one Civic in Q2, and Gabriele Tarquini completed the session in ninth place as the pacesetting Citroens of Muller, Lopez and Loeb led Lada-mounted Huff and Catsburg to progress to Q3.

Jaap van Lagen missed the Q3 cut, but by setting the 10th fastest time in Q2 ensured that a Lada will start on pole in Sunday's reverse-grid second race.

Catsburg was first to run in the Q3 single-lap shootout, but after setting the fastest time yet through the first sector he was scrappier in the second, posting a 2m04.905s that would be eclipsed by both his own team-mate and the fastest Citroens.

Huff then undercut Catsburg by three tenths, only to see his tenure at the top cut short by Sebastien Loeb, albeit by only a hundredth of a second.

Lopez then produced one of his typically stunning single laps, over six tenths faster than Loeb, but Muller somehow contrived to go quicker still, establishing a margin in sector one and holding it for the rest of the lap in spite of a hairy moment in the final third.

RACE ONE STARTING GRID:

Pos Driver Team Car Time Gap
1 Yvan Muller Citroen Total WTCC Citroen 2m03.736s -
2 Jose Maria Lopez Citroen Total WTCC Citroen 2m03.959s 0.223s
3 Sebastien Loeb Citroen Total WTCC Citroen 2m04.583s 0.847s
4 Rob Huff LADA Sport Rosneft Lada 2m04.598s 0.862s
5 Nicky Catsburg LADA Sport Rosneft Lada 2m04.905s 1.169s
6 Hugo Valente Campos Racing Chevrolet 2m04.858s -
7 Ma Qinghua Citroen Total WTCC Citroen 2m05.012s -
8 Tom Chilton ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet 2m05.108s -
9 Gabriele Tarquini Honda Racing Team JAS Honda 2m05.312s -
10 Jaap van Lagen LADA Sport Rosneft Lada 2m05.346s -
11 Mat'o Homola Campos Racing Chevrolet 2m06.081s -
12 Mehdi Bennani Sebastien Loeb Racing Citroen 2m06.103s -
13 Norbert Michelisz Zengo Motorsport Honda 2m05.659s -
14 John Filippi Campos Racing Chevrolet 2m05.691s -
15 Tom Coronel ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet 2m05.729s -
16 Stefano D'Aste All-Inkl.com Munnich Motorsport Chevrolet 2m06.191s -
17 Tiago Monteiro Honda Racing Team JAS Honda 2m06.263s -
18 Nestor Girolami Honda Racing team Sweden Honda 2m06.264s -
19 Gregoire Demoustier Craft-Bamboo Racing Chevrolet - -


shares
comments
Slovakia Ring WTCC: Jose Maria Lopez and Yvan Muller lead practice

Previous article

Slovakia Ring WTCC: Jose Maria Lopez and Yvan Muller lead practice

Next article

Qatar World Touring Car Championship finale to have date changed

Qatar World Touring Car Championship finale to have date changed
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