WTCR Hungary: Huff scores sensational pole for Zengo

Rob Huff put his troubled return to the World Touring Car Cup behind him by scoring a shock pole position at the Hungaroring to send Zengo Motorsport into rapture at the team’s home race.

WTCR Hungary: Huff scores sensational pole for Zengo

The 41-year-old hadn’t qualified his new Cupra Leon higher than 15th in the previous three rounds, but made it through the opening Q1 session in fourth, set a new qualifying lap record in Q2, then got the better of Santiago Urrutia’s Lynk & Co and home hero Norbert Michelisz in Q3 to take pole by an impressive 0.297s.

“It’s been tough, so first a huge congratulations to the Zengo team,” said a delighted Huff, who was left without a drive in the WTCR last year after Volkswagen pulled out of the series. “They’ve worked so hard to get in this position for their home race. We’ve really struggled this year, it’s no secret. But I managed the lap of my life in Q2 to get into Q3 and to get this result is just fantastic. It’s a dream come true for the team.”

Behind Urrutia and Michelisz, Nestor Girolami was fourth fastest in the shootout in his Munnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R, with Thed Bjork fifth in his Lynk & Co.

The biggest surprise of the day was Jean-Karl Vernay’s poor session, the WTCR points leader failing to progress beyond Q1 after only managing to qualify in 16th. Michelisz was the only one of the four Hyundais to make it through to Q2.

“We simply had a lack of improvements,” Vernay, who is also racing in the Pure ETCR races at the Hungaroring this weekend, said. “Norbi on home soil and is looking to achieve something great, but we couldn’t. The car was great, but it lacked performance. We have a lot of compensation weight, but we’re definitely not where we want to be.”

Jean-Karl Vernay, Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team Hyundai Elantra N TCR

Jean-Karl Vernay, Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team Hyundai Elantra N TCR

Photo by: WTCR

In contrast, Michelisz made progress through the session, to the delight of the partisan crowd that has been allowed to return to the Hungaroring this weekend after the WTCR raced behind closed doors in 2020.

“I’m very happy and proud,” he said. “We improved the car run by run and made a big step from Q1 to Q2, raising the bar every time. I’m sad for the team because we struggled today and it’s been tough in general. But I’m sure we can find a solution for tomorrow.”

Belgian Gilles Magnus will start the partially reversed-grid race one from pole position after setting the 10th best time in Q2 in his Comtoyou Audi RS 3 LMS. He will be joined on the front row by Aragon race winner and team-mate Frederic Vervisch.

WTCR Hungary - Qualifying Results

Q3

Cla Driver Chassis Laps Time Gap
1 United Kingdom Rob Huff CUPRA 3 1'51.993  
2 Uruguay Santiago Urrutia Lynk & Co 3 1'52.290 0.297
3 Hungary Norbert Michelisz Hyundai 3 1'52.342 0.349
4 Argentina Nestor Girolami Honda 3 1'52.534 0.541
5 Sweden Thed Björk Lynk & Co 3 1'52.538 0.545

Q2

Cla Driver Chassis Laps Time Gap
1 United Kingdom Rob Huff CUPRA 5 1'51.528  
2 Hungary Norbert Michelisz Hyundai 5 1'52.084 0.556
3 Sweden Thed Björk Lynk & Co 5 1'52.193 0.665
4 Argentina Nestor Girolami Honda 3 1'52.198 0.670
5 Uruguay Santiago Urrutia Lynk & Co 5 1'52.205 0.677
6 Spain Mikel Azcona CUPRA 5 1'52.278 0.750
7 France Yann Ehrlacher Lynk & Co 5 1'52.325 0.797
8 France Yvan Muller Lynk & Co 5 1'52.339 0.811
9 Belgium Frederic Vervisch Audi 5 1'52.393 0.865
10 Belgium Gilles Magnus Audi 5 1'52.522 0.994
11 France Nathanael Berthon Audi 4 1'52.533 1.005
12 Argentina Esteban Guerrieri Honda 5 1'52.732 1.204

Q1

Cla Driver Chassis Laps Time Gap
1 Spain Mikel Azcona CUPRA 7 1'52.284  
2 Belgium Gilles Magnus Audi 6 1'52.510 0.226
3 Uruguay Santiago Urrutia Lynk & Co 7 1'52.513 0.229
4 United Kingdom Rob Huff CUPRA 8 1'52.514 0.230
5 Argentina Nestor Girolami Honda 7 1'52.559 0.275
6 Sweden Thed Björk Lynk & Co 7 1'52.567 0.283
7 Belgium Frederic Vervisch Audi 8 1'52.619 0.335
8 Argentina Esteban Guerrieri Honda 8 1'52.749 0.465
9 France Yann Ehrlacher Lynk & Co 7 1'52.792 0.508
10 France Nathanael Berthon Audi 8 1'52.794 0.510
11 France Yvan Muller Lynk & Co 7 1'52.799 0.515
12 Hungary Norbert Michelisz Hyundai 9 1'52.811 0.527
13 Portugal Tiago Monteiro Honda 8 1'52.843 0.559
14 Hungary Attila Tassi Honda 9 1'52.946 0.662
15 Germany Luca Engstler Hyundai 9 1'53.100 0.816
16 France Jean-Karl Vernay Hyundai 9 1'53.224 0.940
17 Italy Gabriele Tarquini Hyundai 9 1'53.368 1.084
18 Netherlands Tom Coronel Audi 8 1'53.700 1.416
19 Spain Jordi Gene CUPRA 8 1'53.733 1.449
20 Jessica Bäckman Hyundai 8 1'53.960 1.676
21 Italy Nicola Baldan Hyundai 9 1'54.072 1.788
22 Bence Boldizs CUPRA 8 1'54.205 1.921
23 Sweden Andreas Bäckman Hyundai 5    
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