WTCR Suzuka: Ex GP2 racer Ceccon takes first WTCR for Alfa squad

Kevin Ceccon dominated second qualifying for this weekend's Suzuka World Touring Car Cup round, while also taking second behind Aurelien Comte in the opening session

WTCR Suzuka: Ex GP2 racer Ceccon takes first WTCR for Alfa squad

Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo racer Ceccon ended up just over a tenth behind the DG Sport Peugeot of Comte in Friday morning's first qualifying, which determines the grid for Saturday's opening race.

The Italian, who replaced Gianni Morbidelli in Team Mulsanne's line-up midway through the season, then proceeded to dominate the final portion of second qualifying, beating the BRC Racing Hyundai of Gabriele Tarquini by 0.699 seconds to take pole for Sunday's third race.

Second for Tarquini means he stretches his points lead further over fellow Hyundai drivers Thed Bjork and Yvan Muller, who both failed to make the top 10 in second qualifying.

Comte was third, two tenths behind Tarquini, while Yann Ehrlacher (Munnich Motorsport Honda) and Sebastien Loeb Racing's Mehdi Benanni were the remaining shootout contenders, taking fourth and fifth respectively.

Title outsider Pepe Oriola will start the reversed-grid race from pole position in his Campos Racing Cupra by virtue of ending up 10th in the second part of second qualifying.

The Spaniard's time wasidentical to Esteban Guerrieri's (Munnich Honda), but because he set his first he kept the position, with Guerrieri ending up 11th both in the session and on the grid for races two and three.

Muller (YMR Hyundai) completed the order and will start 12th, having had his lap time scrubbed for exceeding track limits.

Oriola will line up ahead of Bennani's SLR team-mate Rob Huff in race two, with Denis Dupont (Comtoyou Audi), the second BRC Hyundai of Norbert Michelisz and Aurelien Panis following behind.

Guerrieri could at least take some comfort in taking third in first qualifying behind Comte and Ceccon, followed by Ehrlacher, Tarquini and Muller.

Title contender Bjork endured a difficult day in his YMR Hyundai, managing only 17th in first qualifying and then falling at the first hurdle in second qualifying as he finished the session 13th - where he will start both Sunday races.

Tiago Monteiro, returning from injury after more than a year on the sidelines, secured 20th on the grid for Saturday's opener in his Boutsen Ginion Honda and 16th for the two Sunday races.

First qualifying result

Pos Driver Team Car Time Gap Laps
1 Aurelien Comte DG Sport Competition Peugeot 2m11.536s - 11
2 Kevin Ceccon Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo 2m11.643s 0.107s 10
3 Esteban Guerrieri Munnich Motorsport Honda 2m11.708s 0.172s 10
4 Yann Ehrlacher Munnich Motorsport Honda 2m11.872s 0.336s 10
5 Gabriele Tarquini BRC Racing Team Hyundai 2m12.109s 0.573s 11
6 Yvan Muller YMR Hyundai 2m12.114s 0.578s 10
7 Mehdi Bennani Sebastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen 2m12.168s 0.632s 12
8 Norbert Michelisz BRC Racing Team Hyundai 2m12.258s 0.722s 11
9 Jean-Karl Vernay WRT Audi 2m12.312s 0.776s 11
10 Mat'o Homola DG Sport Competition Peugeot 2m12.318s 0.782s 11
11 Frederic Vervisch Comtoyou Racing Audi 2m12.342s 0.806s 10
12 Pepe Oriola Campos Racing Cupra 2m12.455s 0.919s 11
13 Aurelien Panis Comtoyou Racing Audi 2m12.492s 0.956s 11
14 Nathanael Berthon Comtoyou Racing Audi 2m12.504s 0.968s 11
15 Rob Huff Sebastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen 2m12.553s 1.017s 10
16 Luigi Ferrara Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo 2m12.742s 1.206s 10
17 Thed Bjork YMR Hyundai 2m12.764s 1.228s 11
18 Timo Scheider Munnich Motorsport Honda 2m12.867s 1.331s 11
19 John Filippi Campos Racing Cupra 2m12.877s 1.341s 10
20 Tiago Monteiro Boutsen Ginion Racing Honda 2m13.020s 1.484s 10
21 Denis Dupont Comtoyou Racing Audi 2m13.033s 1.497s 10
22 Gordon Shedden WRT Audi 2m13.071s 1.535s 10
23 Tom Coronel Boutsen Ginion Racing Honda 2m13.616s 2.080s 10
24 Zsolt Szabo Zengo Motorsport Cupra 2m14.211s 2.675s 10
25 Norbert Nagy Zengo Motorsport Cupra 2m14.936s 3.400s 12


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Author Jamie Klein
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