Monteiro denied WTCR Suzuka pole sweep by Kristoffersson

Double World Rallycross champion Johan Kristoffersson denied Tiago Monteiro a clean sweep of World Touring Car Cup fastest qualifying times at Suzuka, as both drivers claimed their first series poles

Monteiro denied WTCR Suzuka pole sweep by Kristoffersson

Monteiro, whose KCMG Honda Civic Type R has been built up around a spare chassis after the damage he sustained in a heavy crash at Ningbo, set a 59.713s lap of a sodden East Course layout to claim pole for Saturday's opening race.

That effort bested the times set by the similar Munnich Motorsport Civics of Esteban Guerrieri and Nestor Girolami, who were the only other two drivers to lap below the one-minute mark in a session interrupted by four red flags.

Comtoyou pair Niels Langeveld and Frederic Vervisch were fourth and fifth in their Audi RS3 LMSs, ahead of reigning champion Gabriele Tarquini and another Audi - that of standout wildcard Ritmo Miyata.

Friday afternoon's second qualifying session was held in far more favourable conditions, though drivers still struggled to keep their cars on track.

Kristoffersson was the fourth of five runners to make it through to the Q3 shootout segment of second qualifying and elected to run first in his Sebastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen Golf GTI - setting a 59.627s benchmark.

Mikel Azcona and Guerrieri were first to try to beat that but ended up half a second down and, while Monteiro got closer, his effort of 59.780s ended up 0.153 seconds short of Kristofferson's time.

Andy Priaulx was fastest by 0.048s through the first two sectors and might himself have snatched a first WTCR pole - and his first in World Touring Cars since 2010 - but the Cyan Performance Lynk & Co driver ran wide exiting the final corner and dropped to fifth.

Guerrieri made a more severe error at the same corner in Q2, taking out his left-hand door mirror and damaging his Civic's left-front wheelarch, but he was able to recover to the pits then return to the track to secure a Q3 spot.

The six points Guerreiri amassed through his qualifying results mean he is now nine points behind championship leader Norbert Michelisz, although the Hyundai driver will start Sunday's reversed-grid race from pole.

He will share the front row in that race with Rob Huff, while Thed Bjork (Cyan Racing Lynk & Co), the Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce of Kevin Ceccon and defending champion Gabriele Tarquini were the other drivers eliminated from Q2 in sixth, seventh and eighth respectively.

The other main player in the title race, Yvan Muller, had a day to forget.

Muller went off at the first corner in the first qualifying session and will start race one 27th, and was only 17th in the opening part of second qualifying after his Cyan Racing team battled to repair his car.

Qualifying one result

Pos Driver Team Car Time Gap Laps
1 Tiago Monteiro KCMG Honda 59.713s - 21
2 Esteban Guerrieri Munnich Motorsport Honda 59.841s 0.128s 19
3 Nestor Girolami Munnich Motorsport Honda 59.967s 0.254s 24
4 Niels Langeveld Comtoyou Audi Audi 1m00.039s 0.326s 23
5 Frederic Vervisch Comtoyou Audi Audi 1m00.146s 0.433s 19
6 Gabriele Tarquini BRC Squadra Corse Hyundai 1m00.201s 0.488s 22
7 Ritomo Miyata Audi Hitotsuyama Audi 1m00.204s 0.491s 22
8 Thed Bjork Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 1m00.281s 0.568s 24
9 Andy Priaulx Cyan Performance Lynk & Co 1m00.293s 0.580s 21
10 Johan Kristoffersson SLR Volkswagen Volkswagen 1m00.335s 0.622s 22
11 Benjamin Leuchter SLR Volkswagen Volkswagen 1m00.336s 0.623s 24
12 Jean-Karl Vernay WRT Audi 1m00.412s 0.699s 22
13 Kevin Ceccon Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo 1m00.470s 0.757s 23
14 Norbert Michelisz BRC Squadra Corse Hyundai 1m00.504s 0.791s 20
15 Yann Ehrlacher Cyan Performance Lynk & Co 1m00.546s 0.833s 19
16 Ryuichiro Tomita Audi Hitotsuyama Audi 1m00.628s 0.915s 21
17 Nicky Catsburg BRC Racing Team Hyundai 1m00.652s 0.939s 18
18 Ma Qinghua Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo 1m00.713s 1.000s 21
19 Rob Huff SLR VW Motorsport Volkswagen 1m00.726s 1.013s 23
20 Aurelien Panis Comtoyou Cupra Cupra 1m00.774s 1.061s 21
21 Gordon Shedden WRT Audi 1m01.084s 1.371s 23
22 Augusto Farfus BRC Racing Team Hyundai 1m01.086s 1.373s 18
23 Attila Tassi KCMG Honda 1m01.102s 1.389s 18
24 Mehdi Bennani SLR VW Motorsport Volkswagen 1m01.279s 1.566s 23
25 Mikel Azcona PWR Racing Cupra 1m02.096s 2.383s 4
26 Yvan Muller Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 1m02.688s 2.975s 9
- Tom Coronel Comtoyou Cupra Cupra 1m02.769s 3.056s 7
- Daniel Haglof PWR Racing Cupra 1m03.185s 3.472s 5
- Jim Ka To KC Motorgroup Honda - - 23

Qualifying two top five result

Pos Driver Team Car Time Gap Laps
1 Johan Kristoffersson SLR Volkswagen Volkswagen 59.627s - 3
2 Tiago Monteiro KCMG Honda 59.780s 0.153s 3
3 Mikel Azcona PWR Racing Cupra 1m00.104s 0.477s 3
4 Esteban Guerrieri Munnich Motorsport Honda 1m00.192s 0.565s 3
5 Andy Priaulx Cyan Performance Lynk & Co 1m01.023s 1.396s 3


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