Honda driver Girolami beats Muller to Hungary WTCR pole

Munnich Motorsport Honda driver Nestor Girolami claimed pole position for Saturday's opening World Touring Car Cup race at the Hungaroring with a late effort that displaced long-time leader Yvan Muller

Honda driver Girolami beats Muller to Hungary WTCR pole

Overnight rain meant the track was still damp in patches for Saturday morning's second practice session, but those had cleared by the start of WTCR qualifying at 11.45am local time.

Girolami, who had set the pace in first practice and would have topped FP2 but for his lap being chalked off for track limits, looked on course to usurp Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 03 driver Muller at the head of the order with five minutes remaining.

But the Argentinian aborted that lap and headed back to the Munnich garage before attempting one final run in his Honda Civic Type R.

That decision paid off, as Girolami set a best time of 1m52.586s - beating Muller's previous benchmark by 0.171 seconds - with less than two minutes remaining.

Girolami's team-mate Esteban Guerrieri had a scruffier session and only recorded a first timed lap with five minutes left on the clock, but improved on his final run to claim third behind Muller.

Aurelien Panis was an excellent fourth in his Comtoyou Racing Cupra, ahead of Muller's Lynk & Co team-mates Yann Ehrlacher and Thed Bjork.

Johan Kristoffersson recorded what was comfortably the best qualifying result for the Sebastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen team at the start of the 2019 season, securing seventh on the grid in his Golf GTI.

Audi's leading runner was WRT driver Jean-Karl Vernay in eighth, with a late effort from Augusto Farfus (BRC Racing Hyundai i30 N) separating Vernay's RS3 LMS from the similar Comtoyou Audi of Frederic Vervisch.

Daniel Haglof (PWR Cupra) and the second Golf of Mehdi Bennani were 11th and 12th, ahead of home favourite Norbert Michelisz and his BRC Hyundai team-mate Gabriele Tarquini.

The fourth Lynk & Co of Hungaroring rookie Andy Priaulx was 15th, while Kevin Ceccon was the Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo outfit's lead representative in 19th.

Qualifying result

Pos Driver Team Car Time Gap
1 Nestor Girolami Munnich Motorsport Honda 1m52.586s -
2 Yvan Muller Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 1m52.757s 0.171s
3 Esteban Guerrieri Munnich Motorsport Honda 1m52.893s 0.307s
4 Aurelien Panis Comtoyou Cupra Cupra 1m52.955s 0.369s
5 Yann Ehrlacher Cyan Performance Lynk & Co 1m53.042s 0.456s
6 Thed Bjork Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 1m53.065s 0.479s
7 Johan Kristoffersson SLR Volkswagen Volkswagen 1m53.158s 0.572s
8 Jean-Karl Vernay WRT Audi 1m53.217s 0.631s
9 Augusto Farfus BRC Racing Team Hyundai 1m53.267s 0.681s
10 Frederic Vervisch Comtoyou Audi Audi 1m53.274s 0.688s
11 Daniel Haglof PWR Racing Cupra 1m53.286s 0.700s
12 Mehdi Bennani SLR VW Motorsport Volkswagen 1m53.289s 0.703s
13 Norbert Michelisz BRC Squadra Corse Hyundai 1m53.290s 0.704s
14 Gabriele Tarquini BRC Squadra Corse Hyundai 1m53.298s 0.712s
15 Andy Priaulx Cyan Performance Lynk & Co 1m53.397s 0.811s
16 Mikel Azcona PWR Racing Cupra 1m53.486s 0.900s
17 Rob Huff SLR VW Motorsport Volkswagen 1m53.496s 0.910s
18 Attila Tassi KCMG Honda 1m53.548s 0.962s
19 Kevin Ceccon Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo 1m53.659s 1.073s
20 Nicky Catsburg BRC Racing Team Hyundai 1m53.690s 1.104s
21 Ma Qinghua Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo 1m53.780s 1.194s
22 Niels Langeveld Comtoyou Audi Audi 1m53.845s 1.259s
23 Tiago Monteiro KCMG Honda 1m53.903s 1.317s
24 Gordon Shedden WRT Audi 1m54.048s 1.462s
25 Benjamin Leuchter SLR Volkswagen Volkswagen 1m54.078s 1.492s
26 Tom Coronel Comtoyou Cupra Cupra 1m54.213s 1.627s
27 Tamas Tenke Zengo Motorsport Cupra 1m57.067s 4.481s
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Girolami beats Muller to win opening WTCR Hungary race from pole

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Series WTCR
Drivers Nestor Girolami , Yvan Muller
Author Jack Cozens
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