Salzburgring, Qualifying: Morbidelli stops Citroën pole streak!
Engstler took once again pole among the TC2 cars
Gianni Morbidelli took a brilliant pole at the Salzburgring, becoming the first driver to break the Citroën domination in the Super Pole exercise this season.
This on top of being the only non-Citroën driver to have won a race so far.
The ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Italian ace, always among the fastest since the beginning of the weekend, made a perfect lap at the wheel of his Chevrolet RML Cruze, stopping the watches at 1.22.137.
He preceded the two Citroën cars of Yvan Muller and Sébastian Loeb. Fourth was Tom Coronel, in the ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet, who made it to Q3 for the first time this year. José María López closed the top quintet, after having suffered a spectacular spin in turn 9 in Q1, luckily avoiding the barriers.
Morbidelli had topped the time sheets in Q1 as well, showing excellent form and beating the three C-Elysée cars of Muller, Loeb and López, with Borković in fifth position. The Serbian would then be victim of the fast Turn 9 in his very first lap of Q2. Fortunately, the Campos Racing Chevrolet suffered much less damage than its sister car of Hugo Valente, who heavily crashed in the same corner in the morning.
Q2 saw Muller fastest ahead of the Chevy cars of Coronel and Morbidelli, while the Honda cars seemed to deliberately targeting the last positions in the top ten. The first two rows of the Race 2 grid will be trusted by Tarquini, Michelisz, Bennani and Monteiro.
Franz Engstler took once again pole among the TC2 cars, this time preceding John Filippi.
Norbert Michelisz led the field after the first timed lap, clocking a 1:23.259 that was faster than Muller’s 1:23.431, López’s 1:23.432 and Morbidelli’s 1:23.474.
The second attempt saw Coronel improving the mark to 1:22.960, ahead of Michelisz (1:23.207), Morbidelli (1:23.283) and Chilton (1:23.354).
The Citroën trio improved further: Muller (1:22.608), López (1:22.619) and Loeb (1:22.722), but Morbidelli jumped on top with a lap of 1:22.535. A few seconds later López spun at Turn 9, but managed to avoid crashing and returned to the pits.
The LADA drivers made a final, desperate attempt to squeeze among the top-twelve, but they failed to make the cut and Tarquini salvaged his 12th position from Thompson by less than two tenths.
Engstler was the fastest man in TC2, ahead of Filippi and Di Sabatino.
The following drivers made it to Q2: Morbidelli, Muller, López, Loeb, Borković, Coronel, Bennani, Monteiro, Michelisz, Chilton, Münnich and Tarquini.
The ten-minute session was soon disrupted by a red flag after Borković spun and got beached at Turn 9 on his first flying lap.
Just before the neutralization, Morbidelli was able to set a provisional fastest lap of 1:22.281 ahead of Muller (1:22.368), Loeb (1:22.371) and López (1:22.471). Chilton was provisionally lying in fifth position (1:22.596).
When the session resumed, Muller (1:22.085) and Coronel (1:22.168) climbed to first and second, dropping Chilton out of the top five.
The four Honda cars of Monteiro, Bennani, Michelisz and Tarquini did not even try to improve, aiming for filling the two front rows on the top-ten reverse grid for tomorrow’s second race.
López and Loeb were the first drivers to take the track. The Argentine’s time (1:22.507) was 0.046 seconds slower that his Q2 lap, while Loeb (1:22.363) improved his own Q2 performance by eight thousandths.
Morbidelli came third, and in the first two sectors laid the foundations for a remarkable pole position (1:22.137). Coronel (1:22.432) managed to demote López by one place.
The last one to qualify, Muller was clocked at 1:22.186, that was not enough to beat Morbidelli but placed the reigning champion in second position.
|Pos.||Driver||Car||Time Q1||Time Q2||Time Q3|
|1||Gianni MORBIDELLI||Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1||1:22.535||1:22.281||1:22.137|
|2||Yvan MULLER||Citroen C-Elysee WTCC||1:22.608||1:22.085||1:22.186|
|3||Sébastien LOEB||Citroen C-Elysee WTCC||1:22.722||1:22.371||1:22.363|
|4||Tom CORONEL||Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1||1:22.960||1:22.168||1:22.432|
|5||José Maria LOPEZ||Citroen C-Elysee WTCC||1:22.619||1:22.471||1:22.507|
|6||Tom CHILTON||Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1||1:23.354||1:22.565|
|7||Tiago MONTEIRO||Honda Civic WTCC||1:23.097||1:22.790|
|8||Mehdi BENNANI||Honda Civic WTCC||1:23.073||1:22.866|
|9||Norbert MICHELISZ||Honda Civic WTCC||1:23.207||1:22.871|
|10||Gabriele TARQUINI||Honda Civic WTCC||1:23.527||1:22.929|
|11||René MUNNICH||Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1||1:23.446||1:23.363|
|12||Dusan BORKOVIC||Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1||1:22.948||-:—.---|
|13||James THOMPSON||LADA Granta 1.6T||1:23.705|
|14||Rob HUFF||LADA Granta 1.6T||1:23.722|
|15||Mikhail KOZLOVSKIY||LADA Granta 1.6T||1:24.144|
|16||Franz ENGSTLER||BMW E90 320 TC||1:27.550|
|17||John FILIPPI||SEAT Leon WTCC||1:28.245|
|18||Pasquale DI SABATINO||BMW E90 320 TC||1:28.901|
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