BRC Racing's Nicky Catsburg snatched pole position for Sunday's opening World Touring Car Cup race at the Slovakia Ring, leading a Hyundai one-two ahead of Norbert Michelisz.
Catsburg, who topped second practice earlier on Friday, overpowered fellow Hyundai i30 N driver Michelisz in the second half of a 30-minute session held under dark skies.
Spots of rain that appeared at the start of FP2 had threatened to return, leading to a rush of cars venturing out on track to set an early time in preparation for a potential downpour, which ultimately never came.
BRC Hyundai driver Michelisz, who went quickest in FP1, was the first man to dip into the 2m09s bracket on his first lap, which was more than six tenths quicker than reigning champion Gabriele Tarquini in the sister BRC i30 N.
The Hyundai drivers all fought over track position in the second half of the session in a bid to utilise the advantage of a slipstream and, although Catsburg led the train ahead of Michelisz and Tarquini, he still ended up with the quickest time of 2m09.498s, going 0.028 seconds faster than the chasing Michelisz.
"It took me a couple of tries to finally nail it, and it worked out," said Catsburg.
"I'm mega happy, because I struggled in the first two events. Wet or dry, we should be fine."
Behind the Hyundai pair, Team Mulsanne's Ma Qing Hua finished third on a strong Friday for the Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce drivers, team-mate Kevin Ceccon ending the session sixth.
PWR Racing enjoyed a strong qualifying session with Daniel Haglof fourth ahead of the Comtoyou Cupra of Tom Coronel, who had also been in the top five in the day's two practice sessions.
WRT's Jean-Karl Vernay was best of the Audi drivers in seventh ahead of the top Honda of Esteban Guerrieri (Munnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R), while Frederic Vervisch (Comtoyou Audi) and Mehdi Bennani (Sebastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen Golf) rounded out the top 10.
Championship leader Nestor Girolami was only 11th in the second Munnich Motorsport Honda, while Tarquini failed to improve and slipped to 13th place.
Despite losing weight for the Slovakia weekend, the four Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 03s struggled in both practice sessions, with Thed Bjork suffering a minor moment towards the end of the second session after damper issues.
Best of the Lynk & Co 03 quartet in qualifying was Yvan Muller in 18th place, while Bjork was 25th and three-time World Touring Car champion Andy Priaulx was 27th and last overall.
|1||Nicky Catsburg||BRC Racing Team||Hyundai||2m09.498s|
|2||Norbert Michelisz||BRC Squadra Corse||Hyundai||0.028s|
|3||Ma Qinghua||Team Mulsanne||Alfa Romeo||0.409s|
|4||Daniel Haglof||PWR Racing||Cupra||0.610s|
|5||Tom Coronel||Comtoyou Cupra||Cupra||0.656s|
|6||Kevin Ceccon||Team Mulsanne||Alfa Romeo||0.841s|
|8||Esteban Guerrieri||Munnich Motorsport||Honda||0.884s|
|9||Frederic Vervisch||Comtoyou Audi||Audi||0.905s|
|10||Mehdi Bennani||SLR VW Motorsport||Volkswagen||0.932s|
|11||Nestor Girolami||Munnich Motorsport||Honda||0.997s|
|12||Aurelien Panis||Comtoyou Cupra||Cupra||1.013s|
|13||Gabriele Tarquini||BRC Squadra Corse||Hyundai||1.019s|
|14||Mikel Azcona||PWR Racing||Cupra||1.046s|
|15||Benjamin Leuchter||SLR Volkswagen||Volkswagen||1.189s|
|16||Niels Langeveld||Comtoyou Audi||Audi||1.248s|
|18||Yvan Muller||Cyan Racing||Lynk & Co||1.446s|
|19||Augusto Farfus||BRC Racing Team||Hyundai||1.480s|
|20||Luca Engstler||Team Engstler||Hyundai||1.507s|
|22||Johan Kristoffersson||SLR Volkswagen||Volkswagen||1.714s|
|24||Rob Huff||SLR VW Motorsport||Volkswagen||1.847s|
|25||Thed Bjork||Cyan Racing||Lynk & Co||1.865s|
|26||Yann Ehrlacher||Cyan Performance||Lynk & Co||1.969s|
|27||Andy Priaulx||Cyan Performance||Lynk & Co||2.199s|