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WTCR Nurburgring: Bjork beats Muller to pole in Hyundai 1-2-3

Thed Bjork edged team-mate Yvan Muller to score pole position for Thursday's opening World Touring Car Cup race at the Nurburgring Nordschleife, leading a Hyundai top-three sweep in qualifying

Bjork, the 2017 World Touring Car champion, set a fastest time of 8m58.700s in his YMR Hyundai i30 N to secure top spot by 0.079 seconds from Muller, handing the Swede his second pole of the season.

That time compares to the fastest qualifying lap of 8m35.541s recorded during the WTCC's TC1 era by Citroen driver Jose Maria Lopez in 2016, although Bjork's effort was comfortably the fastest qualifying time set by a TCR car on the 15.77-mile circuit that incorporates the grand prix loop.

Norbert Michelisz completed the top three in his BRC Racing i30 N at the end of the session - although the Hungarian had set the session's fastest first sector on his second flying lap, only to abandon that run after going off in the second sector.

Esteban Guerrieri was the only other driver to get within a second of Bjork's time, hauling his Munnich Motorsport Honda Civic up to fourth after the chequered flag had been shown.

Rob Huff secured fifth in his Sebastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen Golf GTi, setting the fastest fourth sector of all, while wildcard entrant Rene Rast was the leading Audi representative in sixth in his WRT-run RS3 LMS.

Gabriele Tarquini salvaged seventh in the fourth i30 N - qualifying two seconds away from Bjork's time - just ahead of WRT regular Gordon Shedden and the two Boutsen Ginion Civic drivers Tom Coronel and Benjamin Lessennes.

James Thompson was 26th in his Munnich Motorsport Civic, and slowest of all in his first qualifying session on the Nordschleife.

But the Briton will start Thursday's opening race ahead of Zengo Motorsport's David Szabo, who did not take part in qualifying after crashing in the wet in first practice.

Result

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Thed Bjork YMR Hyundai 8m58.700s
2 Yvan Muller YMR Hyundai 0.079s
3 Norbert Michelisz BRC Racing Team Hyundai 0.365s
4 Esteban Guerrieri Munnich Motorsport Honda 0.954s
5 Rob Huff Sebastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen 1.209s
6 Rene Rast WRT Audi 1.771s
7 Gabriele Tarquini BRC Racing Team Hyundai 2.028s
8 Gordon Shedden WRT Audi 2.535s
9 Tom Coronel Boutsen Ginion Racing Honda 3.453s
10 Benjamin Lessennes Boutsen Ginion Racing Honda 3.528s
11 Yann Ehrlacher Munnich Motorsport Honda 3.989s
12 Jean-Karl Vernay WRT Audi 4.338s
13 Pepe Oriola Campos Racing Cupra 5.403s
14 Mat'o Homola DG Sport Competition Peugeot 5.757s
15 Frederic Vervisch Comtoyou Racing Audi 6.209s
16 Denis Dupont Comtoyou Racing Audi 6.521s
17 Aurelien Panis Comtoyou Racing Audi 7.032s
18 Aurelien Comte DG Sport Competition Peugeot 7.286s
19 Mehdi Bennani Sebastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen 7.492s
20 Nathanael Berthon Comtoyou Racing Audi 7.619s
21 Kris Richard KCMG Honda 9.582s
22 Fabrizio Giovanardi Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo 9.939s
23 Gianni Morbidelli Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo 11.233s
24 John Filippi Campos Racing Cupra 12.026s
25 Norbert Nagy Zengo Motorsport Cupra 12.121s
26 James Thompson Munnich Motorsport Honda 14.728s


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