WTCC Argentina: Jose Maria Lopez on pole after Guerrieri error

Jose Maria Lopez will start Sunday's main World Touring Car Championship race in Argentina from pole after a pitlane error in qualifying denied Esteban Guerrieri a pole on his debut

WTCC Argentina: Jose Maria Lopez on pole after Guerrieri error

Guerrieri stunned the field with the fastest time in both of Saturday's earlier practice sessions, and backed that pace up by securing a spot in the five-car pole position shootout.

The Argentinian then went quickest of all in the shootout, setting a fastest time of 1m42.857s in his Campos Racing Chevrolet Cruze, but his time was disallowed before the end of the session after he was found to have exited the pitlane after a red light had been shown.

Pole instead went to compatriot Lopez, who claimed a third-successive main race pole in Argentina despite recording a lap two tenths of a second slower than Guerrieri in the final part of qualifying in his Citroen Racing C-Elysee.

Honda's Norbert Michelisz was first of the top five to run in the shootout session and wound up third-fastest - therefore inheriting a place on the outside of the front row, ahead of Tom Coronel and Yvan Muller in the second factory Citroen.

The Frenchman had been up on Michelisz's early benchmark through the first two sectors on his flying lap, but went over the kerb at Turn 13 and lost traction on the run through the final kink to the line.

Muller will instead start from fourth, ahead of the unfortunate Guerrieri.

Rob Huff was the first of those to miss out on the top-five shootout in the second part of qualifying and will start Sunday's main race from sixth, with leading Sebastien Loeb Racing driver Mehdi Bennani separating the Briton from Honda team-mate Tiago Monteiro.

Bennani's team-mate Tom Chilton opted not to go for a second run in the tight-for-time second session, and clung on to the ninth-fastest time in his Sebastien Loeb Racing Citroen C-Elysee.

Munnich Motorsport's James Thompson did head out for a second run but was unable to improve, and was pipped to 10th place - and the opening reversed grid race pole - by fellow Chevrolet Cruze driver John Filippi.

Thompson will therefore line-up 11th for both of Sunday's races, as he did at the previous round in Vila Real, and will share row six with the third SLR C-Elysee of Gregoire Demoustier, the Frenchman improving late on in Q1 to seal a place in Q2 for the first time in 2016.

Demoustier's late improvement pushed Hugo Valente out of the second part of qualifying, meaning that all three Ladas were eliminated in Q1 - with Nicky Catsburg and Gabriele Tarquini 14th and 15th.

They at least fared better than the two Polestar Volvos, though, with Thed Bjork and Robert Dahlgren lining up ahead only of Zengo Motorsport's Daniel Nagy, whose engine was changed overnight.

HONDA TAKES TIME TRIAL GLORY

Honda won the MAC3 time trial ahead of Citroen to claim an extra 10 points in the manufacturers' championship.

Huff made a slow start compared to team-mates Michelisz and Monteiro and slotted into the back of its three-car train, completing Honda's two-lap run in a time of 3m32.872s to better Lada's previous benchmark effort by 3.308s.

SLR driver Chilton joined factory drivers Lopez and Muller for Citroen's attempt, but a couple of lurid slides from Chilton kept Muller pent up behind, and cost the Citroen trio time to Honda's benchmark.

With Muller remaining behind Chilton on the second lap, the Frenchman completed the manufacturer's run 0.677s slower than Honda's time, to hand the Japanese marque its fifth MAC3 win of the season.

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WTCC Argentina: Esteban Guerrieri tops both practice sessions on debut

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