Macau WTCR: Rob Huff gets pole for opening after last-gasp lap

Rob Huff landed pole position for the opening World Touring Car Cup race in Macau with a sensational last-gasp lap of the Guia circuit in first qualifying

Macau WTCR: Rob Huff gets pole for opening after last-gasp lap

Practice pacesetter Huff was fastest for the majority of the session in his Sebastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen Golf GTI.

But Huff appeared to have missed out on pole when Munnich Motorsport Honda Civic driver Esteban Guerrieri beat Huff's benchmark by 0.078 seconds with the help of a tow from team-mate Yann Ehrlacher.

Huff was down in the first sector on his final lap, but was close to his personal best in sector three and he then pulled out the fastest final sector of all to clinch pole after the chequered flag had fallen.

His lap, in a time of 2m29.040s, ultimately gave him pole by a convincing 0.479s from Guerrieri, who will line up second ahead of Yvan Muller.

YMR driver Muller, who is second in the points ahead of this weekend's final three races of the WTCR season, was a further tenth behind the Argentinian in his Hyundai i30 N, having completed his fastest lap just after Guerrieri set his best time.

The pair were then involved in an incident on the run to Lisboa after their fast laps, which resulted in Muller giving Guerrieri a gentle tap into the right-hander.

Muller's nephew Ehrlacher qualified fourth in his Munnich Motorsport Civic but will start the opening race from the back of the grid owing to an engine change penalty.

First practice pacesetter Jean-Karl Vernay will therefore line up fourth in his WRT Audi RS3 LMS, ahead of Huff's SLR team-mate Mehdi Bennani.

Norbert Michelisz will start sixth, one place ahead of BRC Racing Hyundai team-mate and current points leader Gabriele Tarquini.

Frederic Vervisch (Comtoyou Audi) and title hopeful Pepe Oriola (Campos Racing Cupra) completed the qualifying top 10, with the third Munnich Motorsport Civic of Timo Scheider next up.

Andre Couto, the 2000 Macau Grand Prix winner, was again fastest of the six wildcard entrants contesting this weekend's Guia race, setting a best time of 2m34.860s in his MacPro Honda.

The session was stopped for a short while when Thed Bjork crashed his YMR Hyundai at Fisherman's bend.

Bjork, who is currently third in the drivers' standings, damaged the front-left corner of his car and was limited to 16th in qualifying as a result.

Race one qualifying

Pos Driver Team Car Time Gap
1 Rob Huff Sebastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen 2m29.040s -
2 Esteban Guerrieri Munnich Motorsport Honda 2m29.519s 0.479s
3 Yvan Muller YMR Hyundai 2m29.631s 0.591s
4 Yann Ehrlacher Munnich Motorsport Honda 2m29.960s 0.920s
5 Jean-Karl Vernay WRT Audi 2m30.037s 0.997s
6 Mehdi Bennani Sebastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen 2m30.173s 1.133s
7 Norbert Michelisz BRC Racing Team Hyundai 2m30.267s 1.227s
8 Gabriele Tarquini BRC Racing Team Hyundai 2m30.403s 1.363s
9 Frederic Vervisch Comtoyou Racing Audi 2m30.672s 1.632s
10 Pepe Oriola Campos Racing Cupra 2m30.827s 1.787s
11 Timo Scheider Munnich Motorsport Honda 2m30.840s 1.800s
12 Kevin Ceccon Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo 2m30.931s 1.891s
13 John Filippi Campos Racing Cupra 2m31.118s 2.078s
14 Nathanael Berthon Comtoyou Racing Audi 2m31.513s 2.473s
15 Ma Qinghua Boutsen Ginion Racing Honda 2m31.553s 2.513s
16 Thed Bjork YMR Hyundai 2m31.860s 2.820s
17 Mat'o Homola DG Sport Competition Peugeot 2m32.120s 3.080s
18 Gordon Shedden WRT Audi 2m32.502s 3.462s
19 Luigi Ferrara Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo 2m32.585s 3.545s
20 Tom Coronel Boutsen Ginion Racing Honda 2m32.645s 3.605s
21 Aurelien Comte DG Sport Competition Peugeot 2m32.743s 3.703s
22 Aurelien Panis Comtoyou Racing Audi 2m33.024s 3.984s
23 Denis Dupont Comtoyou Racing Audi 2m33.616s 4.576s
24 Norbert Nagy Zengo Motorsport Cupra 2m34.798s 5.758s
25 Andre Couto MacPro Racing Team Honda 2m34.860s 5.820s
26 Filipe Souza Champ Motorsport Audi 2m35.023s 5.983s
27 Kevin Tse Team Work Motorsport Audi 2m35.312s 6.272s
28 Billy Lo Tian Shi Zuver Team Audi 2m35.987s 6.947s
- Kam San Lam Champ Motorsport Audi 2m39.501s 10.461s
- Rui Valente PCT Racing Team Volkswagen 2m40.930s 11.890s
- Zsolt Szabo Zengo Motorsport Cupra 2m41.228s 12.188s

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WTCR Macau: Rob Huff smashes TCR lap record to top practice

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