Yvan Muller denies Nicky Catsburg's Lada Slovakia Ring WTCC pole

Citroen's Yvan Muller upset the order to claim pole position for Sunday's World Touring Car Championship main race after a fiercely contested Slovakia Ring qualifying session

Yvan Muller denies Nicky Catsburg's Lada Slovakia Ring WTCC pole

Muller, who had finished no higher than 10th in any of the three sessions preceding Saturday's qualifying, set a best time of 2m03.910s in his C-Elysee to edge out Lada's Nicky Catsburg by a mere 0.040 seconds.

Catsburg was second-last to run and had been up on Muller's time through the second split, but the Frenchman's opening and final sectors nudged him clear of the Dutchman to claim his first WTCC pole since the championship's previous visit to the circuit in June last year.

Muller's team-mate Jose Maria Lopez was third-fastest, ahead of the Hondas of Norbert Michelisz and Rob Huff.

Lopez, who along with Lada's Hugo Valente had caused a red flag in the first part of qualifying after they separately dragged gravel onto the circuit, ran after Muller but was not able to better the sister car's time.

The top five effectively secured their places in the Q3 shootout after their first runs of the 3.7-mile circuit, with its length giving the drivers one real chance to set a time.

Lada's Valente was the only driver to head out for a second run, but he quickly abandoned that run when Thed Bjork's lap bumped him down to 10th in the classification, giving him the reversed-grid race pole for a second race weekend in a row.

Bjork was the first to miss out on a spot in Q3 for a second race weekend in succession, the Swede finishing just 0.059s slower than Huff who, having squeaked through to Q2, was also the last man to make the Q3 cut-off.

Tiago Monteiro was seventh in the third Honda Civic ahead of former team-mate Gabriele Tarquini, with Mehdi Bennani and Valente completing the top 10 ahead of Tom Chilton and Fredrik Ekblom.

James Thompson qualified 15th on his return to the WTCC, ahead of Tom Coronel and Ferenc Ficza.

RACE ONE GRID

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

RACE TWO GRID

Pos Driver Team Car Time Gap
1 Yvan Muller Citroen Racing Citroen 2m03.910s -
2 Nicky Catsburg LADA Sport Lada 2m03.950s 0.040s
3 Jose Maria Lopez Citroen Racing Citroen 2m04.191s 0.281s
4 Norbert Michelisz Honda Racing Team JAS Honda 2m04.378s 0.468s
5 Rob Huff Honda Racing Team JAS Honda 2m04.751s 0.841s
6 Thed Bjork Polestar Cyan Racing Volvo 2m04.821s -
7 Tiago Monteiro Honda Racing Team JAS Honda 2m04.883s -
8 Gabriele Tarquini LADA Sport Lada 2m04.950s -
9 Mehdi Bennani Sebastien Loeb Racing Citroen 2m04.998s -
10 Hugo Valente LADA Sport Lada 2m05.022s -
11 Tom Chilton Sebastien Loeb Racing Citroen 2m05.227s -
12 John Filippi Campos Racing Chevrolet 2m05.444s -
13 Gregoire Demoustier Sebastien Loeb Racing Citroen 2m06.105s -
14 James Thompson Munnich Motorsport Chevrolet 2m06.222s -
15 Tom Coronel ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet 2m07.005s -
16 Ferenc Ficza Zengo Motorsport Honda 2m07.202s -
17 Fredrik Ekblom Polestar Cyan Racing Volvo 2m05.279s -


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