WTCR Bahrain: Points leader Azcona beats Berthon to pole

Mikel Azcona took another step towards his first World Touring Car Cup title with a fine pole position at the penultimate round in Bahrain.

WTCR Bahrain: Points leader Azcona beats Berthon to pole

The WTCR points leader topped all three sessions in qualifying to secure his second pole of the 2022 season, the BRC Hyundai Elantra edging out Nathanael Berthon’s Comtoyou Audi by 0.114s as the last to run in the Q3 top five shootout.

Nearest title rival Nestor Girolami (All-Inkl Honda) will start the first race on Friday evening from third on the grid ahead of Azcona’s team-mate Norbert Michelisz.

Nicky Catsburg, who has returned to the WTCR in a third Hyundai for the final two rounds in the Middle East, did well to make it through to Q3, but had his final time deleted for violating track limits. He will start the opening race in fifth.

Wildcard entry Franco Girolami, younger brother of Nestor, acquitted himself well on his WTCR qualifying debut. The TCR European champion comfortably made it through the opening Q1 session by qualifying his Comtoyou Audi ninth.

He then reacted quickly in Q2 when fellow Argentinian Esteban Guerrieri, his brother’s team-mate, lifted off in front of him. Guerrieri, who failed to reach Q3 in eighth, is under investigation for the incident.

Girolami Jr ultimately qualified ninth, ahead of team-mate Mehdi Bennani, who inherits pole position for the partially reversed grid race two.

Following 2012 World Touring Car Championship-winner Rob Huff's withdrawal from the season due to financial problems, his Zengo Motorsport replacement Bence Boldizs qualified 12th in the 15-car field.

The opening race takes place at 19h00 local time, with race two following on Saturday morning prior to the World Endurance Championship's 8 Hours of Bahrain season finale.

WTCR Bahrain Q3 Results

Cla Driver Chassis Time Gap
1 Spain Mikel Azcona Hyundai 2'11.061  
2 France Nathanael Berthon   2'11.175 0.114
3 Argentina Nestor Girolami Honda 2'11.221 0.160
4 Hungary Norbert Michelisz Hyundai 2'11.422 0.361
5 Netherlands Nick Catsburg Hyundai    

WTCR Bahrain Q2 Results

Cla Driver Chassis Time Gap
1 Spain Mikel Azcona Hyundai 2'11.177  
2 France Nathanael Berthon   2'11.299 0.122
3 Argentina Nestor Girolami Honda 2'11.391 0.214
4 Hungary Norbert Michelisz Hyundai 2'11.450 0.273
5 Netherlands Nick Catsburg Hyundai 2'11.504 0.327
6 Hungary Attila Tassi Honda 2'11.505 0.328
7 Belgium Gilles Magnus   2'11.697 0.520
8 Argentina Esteban Guerrieri Honda 2'11.811 0.634
9 Franco Girolami   2'11.997 0.820
10 Morocco Mehdi Bennani   2'12.019 0.842
11 Hungary Daniel Nagy CUPRA 2'12.360 1.183
12 Bence Boldizs CUPRA 2'12.730 1.553
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