Termas de Rio Hondo, Qual.: Catsburg storms to WTCC pole

Ehrlacher to be on opening race pole

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By Emmanuel Touzot

15 July 2017 - 21:08
Termas de Rio Hondo, Qual.: Catsburg

Nicky Catsburg has qualified on the DHL Pole Position at FIA WTCC Race of Argentina with a sensational lap around the 4.806-kilometre Circuito Termas de Río Hondo.

Driving a Volvo S60 Polestar, Catsburg took to the grass in a dramatic final-turn power slide to top the Qualifying Q3 shootout by a slender margin of 0.184s over Norbert Michelisz from the factory Honda team. Tiago Monteiro was third with Argentine ace and leading WTCC Trophy contender Esteban Guerrieri and Thed Björk fourth and fifth respectively.

“The lap was definitely good,” said Catsburg. “The whole day went very well already in FP1 and FP2, noticing we were quite fast. We made small improvements to the car and the team did a really good job with that, which showed in qualifying although it wasn’t easy, not at all. The lap was close to being the fastest we could do. The last corner was spectacular to go onto the grass when we kept pushing, which made the difference and I’m very happy with pole position and the five points I get for the championship, which is very close.”

Home hero Néstor Girolami, Mehdi Bennani, Tom Chilton, Ryo Michigami, Yann Ehrlacher, John Filippi and Tom Coronel all made it through to Q2 but the session ended at the Q1 phase for Rob Huff, Dániel Nagy and Zsolt Dávid Szabó and Kevin Gleason. Huff’s early elimination was a shock with the former world champion blaming a lock-up – which flat-spotted his tyres ahead of his final run – for losing out.

By finishing Q2 in P10, Ehrlacher will start Sunday’s Opening Race from the reverse-grid pole, a WTCC career first for the RC Motorsport driver, nephew of four-time world champion Yvan Muller.

MAC3

The trio of Thed Björk, Nicky Catsburg and Néstor Girolami joined forces to give Team Volvo Polestar its fifth Manufacturers Against the Clock victory of 2017 to claim 12 more points in its bid to win the WTCC makes’ award.

They beat the Team Honda line-up of Norbert Michelisz, Ryo Michigami and Tiago Monteiro over two laps of the the 4.806-kilometre Circuito Termas de Río Hondo.

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