Slovakia WTCR: Gabriele Tarquini leads Hyundai qualifying dominance

Gabriele Tarquini will start Saturday's opening World Touring Car Cup race at the Slovakia Ring from pole after he and BRC Racing Hyundai team-mate Norbert Michelisz dominated qualifying

Slovakia WTCR: Gabriele Tarquini leads Hyundai qualifying dominance

Tarquini beat Michelisz's long-standing benchmark by 0.352 seconds with his final lap at the end of the session, securing his second pole of the season with a fastest time of 2m09.312s.

The BRC pair both completed two runs in their Hyundai i30 Ns and were comfortably quickest of all, with third-place qualifier and championship leader Yvan Muller more than six tenths slower than Michelisz and close to a second off Tarquini's time in his i30 N.

UPDATE: Three Hyundais excluded for boost issues

Aurelien Comte qualified best of the rest in his DG Sport Peugeot 308TCR in fourth, 1.014s off the pace, while Pepe Oriola (Campos Racing Cupra) and Esteban Guerrieri (Munnich Motorsport Honda Civic) were fifth and sixth.

Muller's team-mate Thed Bjork was seventh with his one and only run at the start of the session, but will start the first race of the weekend from the back of the grid after YMR elected to change his Hyundai's engine.

That means WRT driver Jean-Karl Vernay moves up to head row four in the fastest of the Audi RS3 LMSs, with the respective Boutsen Ginion and Munnich Civics of Tom Coronel and title hopeful Yann Ehrlacher eighth and ninth.

Fresh from a first WTCR victory in Vila Real three weeks ago, Mato Homola qualified 11th for the first race at his home venue.

Fabrizio Giovanardi equalled the Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo outfit's best qualifying of the season so far and will start race one from 14th, six places ahead of new team-mate Kevin Ceccon.

Sebastien Loeb Racing drivers Rob Huff and Mehdi Bennani were 23rd and 24th in their new Volkswagen Golf GTIs, which were delivered to the team then built up after the pair's huge shunt in the opening race at Vila Real.

Huff qualified 2.531s off the pace, with Bennani a further half a second back.

John Filippi avoided a grid penalty for an engine change but failed to set a time in qualifying after beaching his Campos Racing Cupra in the gravel on his first qualifying effort, causing a short red flag.

Race one qualifying

Pos Driver Team Car Time Gap
1 Gabriele Tarquini BRC Racing Team Hyundai 2m09.312s -
2 Aurelien Comte DG Sport Competition Peugeot 2m10.326s 1.014s
3 Pepe Oriola Campos Racing Cupra 2m10.475s 1.163s
4 Esteban Guerrieri Munnich Motorsport Honda 2m10.487s 1.175s
5 Jean-Karl Vernay WRT Audi 2m10.565s 1.253s
6 Tom Coronel Boutsen Ginion Racing Honda 2m10.752s 1.440s
7 Yann Ehrlacher Munnich Motorsport Honda 2m10.870s 1.558s
8 Mat'o Homola DG Sport Competition Peugeot 2m11.030s 1.718s
9 Aurelien Panis Comtoyou Racing Audi 2m11.170s 1.858s
10 Denis Dupont Comtoyou Racing Audi 2m11.199s 1.887s
11 Nathanael Berthon Comtoyou Racing Audi 2m11.230s 1.918s
12 Fabrizio Giovanardi Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo 2m11.284s 1.972s
13 Benjamin Lessennes Boutsen Ginion Racing Honda 2m11.368s 2.056s
14 Frederic Vervisch Comtoyou Racing Audi 2m11.414s 2.102s
15 Norbert Nagy Zengo Motorsport Cupra 2m11.514s 2.202s
16 Petr Fulin Fulin Race Academy Cupra 2m11.516s 2.204s
17 Gordon Shedden WRT Audi 2m11.646s 2.334s
18 Kevin Ceccon Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo 2m11.676s 2.364s
19 Zsolt Szabo Zengo Motorsport Cupra 2m11.808s 2.496s
20 Rob Huff Sebastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen 2m11.843s 2.531s
21 Mehdi Bennani Sebastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen 2m12.366s 3.054s
22 Andrej Studenic Brutal Fish Racing Team Volkswagen 2m13.529s 4.217s
- John Filippi Campos Racing Cupra - -
- Norbert Michelisz BRC Racing Team Hyundai - -
- Yvan Muller YMR Hyundai - -
- Thed Bjork YMR Hyundai - -


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Series WTCR
Drivers Gabriele Tarquini
Author Jack Cozens
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