Macau WTCR: Rob Huff and Yvan Muller top dramatic qualifying

Rob Huff claimed a sensational World Touring Car Cup pole position in a dramatic second Macau Guia Race qualifying as the TCR lap record was broken twice in two sessions

Macau WTCR: Rob Huff and Yvan Muller top dramatic qualifying

Yvan Muller had earlier taken pole for Saturday's opening race, in which championship leader Esteban Guerrieri will start at the back - though he later secured pole for race two's partially-reversed grid.


Watch all three WTCR races - and the rest of the Macau Grand Prix and GT World Cup action - live on Autosport this weekend


Sebastien Loeb Racing driver Huff was limited to seventh in first qualifying by a damper issue but was on song in the second session, topping all three segments as he beat compatriot Andy Priaulx to pole.

Huff elected to run first in the Q3 shootout session and, while his Volkswagen Golf GTI lost ground to every other runner in sector one, he was fastest of all in the final two sectors as he romped to his first pole position of the WTCR season.

His 2m28.538s lap - which he bettered in the second part of qualifying - had been close to eight tenths of a second faster than the next best until Priaulx's run, as the Lynk & Co driver recorded his best qualifying performance since returning to World Touring Cars.

The three-time world champion was more than half a second up on Huff's benchmark at the end of the second sector, but could not match Huff in the second half of the lap and ended up 0.206s down in second.

WRT driver Jean-Karl Vernay was third in his Audi RS3 LMS ahead of the lead BRC Racing Hyundai of Nicky Catsburg, while Huff's team-mate Johan Kristoffersson ended up fifth.

Kristoffersson was the only Macau rookie to make the shootout but wrecked his lap by clattering the barrier at Moorish, and ended up close to three seconds off the pace in third.

Race one polesitter Muller was bumped from a place in the shootout by Kristoffersson after failing to improve on his final Q2 run.

Four-time world champion Muller will therefore start Sunday's final race from sixth, ahead of the Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce of Kevin Ceccon, who also failed to improve on his final run, and fellow Lynk & Co drivers Thed Bjork and Yann Ehrlacher.

After finishing 13th in the first qualifying session, only to receive a back of the grid penalty for having his engine changed, points leader Guerrieri fared far better in the afternoon session and qualified 10th.

Guerrieri's Munnich Motorsport Honda Civic did not have the pace to challenge for a place in the shootout, but he crucially beat the sole time set by Hyundai driver Gabriele Tarquini to clinch pole for the reversed-grid race.

The Argentinian scraped into Q2 by the skin of his teeth, in part thanks to an incident involving his nearest championship rival Norbert Michelisz - who collected the stranded WRT Audi of Gordon Shedden near the end of Q1.

Shedden ran nose-first into the Moorish barrier and, while Tiago Monteiro and Guerrieri were able to sneak past the RS3 LMS, Michelisz was unsighted and collected the rear of Shedden's car, causing significant damage to the front-left corner of his Hyundai i30 N.

That brought the session to a premature end, and precluded Michelisz - who had been fourth in the Q1 order - from contesting the second session, meaning he will start both Sunday races from 11th.

While he was denied pole in Friday morning's opening qualifying session, Michelisz was able to reduce Guerrieri's points lead by qualifying second for the opening race.

In that session Muller recorded personal-best times in the second, third and fourth sectors to set a 2m28.661s, which was also quicker than Huff's previous qualifying lap record of 2m29.040s from last year's opening Guia Race qualifying session, to deny Michelisz by 0.068s.

Michelisz's time did prevent Cyan from recording a front-row lockout, as Priaulx's late effort fell 0.077s short of the Hungarian's.

Two-time Guia Race winner Priaulx will share the second row of the grid for the opening race of the weekend with Ceccon, who was a further 0.040s back but could have achieved pole had he strung his best sectors together.

Race one starting grid

Pos Driver Team Car Time Gap
1 Yvan Muller Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 2m28.661s -
2 Norbert Michelisz BRC Squadra Corse Hyundai 2m28.729s 0.068s
3 Andy Priaulx Cyan Performance Lynk & Co 2m28.806s 0.145s
4 Kevin Ceccon Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo 2m28.846s 0.185s
5 Yann Ehrlacher Cyan Performance Lynk & Co 2m28.942s 0.281s
6 Thed Bjork Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 2m29.060s 0.399s
7 Rob Huff SLR VW Motorsport Volkswagen 2m29.451s 0.790s
8 Gabriele Tarquini BRC Squadra Corse Hyundai 2m29.470s 0.809s
9 Benjamin Leuchter SLR Volkswagen Volkswagen 2m29.660s 0.999s
10 Mikel Azcona PWR Racing Cupra 2m29.683s 1.022s
11 Frederic Vervisch Comtoyou Audi Audi 2m29.709s 1.048s
12 Nicky Catsburg BRC Racing Team Hyundai 2m29.770s 1.109s
13 Esteban Guerrieri Munnich Motorsport Honda 2m29.833s 1.172s
14 Robert Dahlgren PWR Racing Cupra 2m29.891s 1.230s
15 Tiago Monteiro KCMG Honda 2m29.919s 1.258s
16 Johan Kristoffersson SLR Volkswagen Volkswagen 2m30.039s 1.378s
17 Jean-Karl Vernay WRT Audi 2m30.200s 1.539s
18 Nestor Girolami Munnich Motorsport Honda 2m30.353s 1.692s
19 Ma Qinghua Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo 2m30.445s 1.784s
20 Aurelien Panis Comtoyou Cupra Cupra 2m30.462s 1.801s
21 Mehdi Bennani SLR VW Motorsport Volkswagen 2m30.788s 2.127s
22 Attila Tassi KCMG Honda 2m30.835s 2.174s
23 Niels Langeveld Comtoyou Audi Audi 2m30.867s 2.206s
24 Gordon Shedden WRT Audi 2m30.888s 2.227s
25 Luca Engstler BRC Racing Team Hyundai 2m31.533s 2.872s
26 Tom Coronel Comtoyou Cupra Cupra 2m31.608s 2.947s
27 Jim Ka To KC Motorgroup Honda 2m33.654s 4.993s
28 Billy Lo Tian Shi Zuver Team Audi 2m34.791s 6.130s
- James Tang Team TRC Honda 2m36.795s 8.134s
- Kwai Wah Wong Son Veng Racing Team Volkswagen 2m39.999s 11.338s
- Terence Tse Team TRC Honda 2m43.146s 14.485s
- Arthur Law Team TRC Honda - -

Race two grid

Pos Driver Team Car
1 Yann Ehrlacher Cyan Performance Lynk & Co
2 Thed Bjork Cyan Racing Lynk & Co
3 Kevin Ceccon Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo
4 Esteban Guerrieri Munnich Motorsport Honda
5 Yvan Muller Cyan Racing Lynk & Co
6 Johan Kristoffersson SLR Volkswagen Volkswagen
7 Nicky Catsburg BRC Racing Team Hyundai
8 Jean-Karl Vernay WRT Audi
9 Andy Priaulx Cyan Performance Lynk & Co
10 Rob Huff SLR VW Motorsport Volkswagen
11 Gabriele Tarquini BRC Squadra Corse Hyundai
12 Norbert Michelisz BRC Squadra Corse Hyundai
13 Niels Langeveld Comtoyou Audi Audi
14 Tom Coronel Comtoyou Cupra Cupra
15 Luca Engstler BRC Racing Team Hyundai
16 Attila Tassi KCMG Honda
17 Nestor Girolami Munnich Motorsport Honda
18 Frederic Vervisch Comtoyou Audi Audi
19 Mehdi Bennani SLR VW Motorsport Volkswagen
20 Robert Dahlgren PWR Racing Cupra
21 Aurelien Panis Comtoyou Cupra Cupra
22 Mikel Azcona PWR Racing Cupra
23 Ma Qinghua Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo
24 Benjamin Leuchter SLR Volkswagen Volkswagen
25 Tiago Monteiro KCMG Honda
26 Billy Lo Tian Shi Zuver Team Audi
29 James Tang Team TRC Honda
30 Kwai Wah Wong Son Veng Racing Team Volkswagen
31 Terence Tse Team TRC Honda
32 Arthur Law Team TRC Honda
1001 Gordon Shedden WRT Audi
1002 Jim Ka To KC Motorgroup Honda

Race three grid

Pos Driver Team Car Time Gap
1 Rob Huff SLR VW Motorsport Volkswagen 2m28.538s -
2 Andy Priaulx Cyan Performance Lynk & Co 2m28.744s 0.206s
3 Jean-Karl Vernay WRT Audi 2m29.336s 0.798s
4 Nicky Catsburg BRC Racing Team Hyundai 2m29.531s 0.993s
5 Johan Kristoffersson SLR Volkswagen Volkswagen 2m31.369s 2.831s
6 Yvan Muller Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 2m28.860s -
7 Kevin Ceccon Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo 2m29.010s -
8 Thed Bjork Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 2m29.133s -
9 Yann Ehrlacher Cyan Performance Lynk & Co 2m29.291s -
10 Esteban Guerrieri Munnich Motorsport Honda 2m29.571s -
11 Gabriele Tarquini BRC Squadra Corse Hyundai 2m29.986s -
12 Norbert Michelisz BRC Squadra Corse Hyundai - -
13 Niels Langeveld Comtoyou Audi Audi 2m30.070s -
14 Tom Coronel Comtoyou Cupra Cupra 2m30.092s -
15 Luca Engstler BRC Racing Team Hyundai 2m30.146s -
16 Nestor Girolami Munnich Motorsport Honda 2m30.375s -
17 Attila Tassi KCMG Honda 2m30.359s -
18 Frederic Vervisch Comtoyou Audi Audi 2m30.510s -
19 Mehdi Bennani SLR VW Motorsport Volkswagen 2m30.684s -
20 Robert Dahlgren PWR Racing Cupra 2m31.048s -
21 Aurelien Panis Comtoyou Cupra Cupra 2m31.496s -
22 Mikel Azcona PWR Racing Cupra 2m31.605s -
23 Ma Qinghua Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo 2m31.691s -
24 Benjamin Leuchter SLR Volkswagen Volkswagen 2m31.871s -
25 Tiago Monteiro KCMG Honda 2m32.183s -
26 Billy Lo Tian Shi Zuver Team Audi 2m35.384s -
29 James Tang Team TRC Honda 2m37.801s -
30 Kwai Wah Wong Son Veng Racing Team Volkswagen 2m41.201s -
31 Terence Tse Team TRC Honda - -
32 Arthur Law Team TRC Honda - -
1001 Gordon Shedden WRT Audi 2m30.328s -
1002 Jim Ka To KC Motorgroup Honda - -

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Series WTCR
Drivers Sven Muller
Author Jack Cozens
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