World Touring Car Championship leader José María López has claimed pole position for his home race at the Termas de Río Hondo circuit.

The Argentine racer qualified almost half a second faster than Citroën Total WTCC teammate and chief championship rival Yvan Muller in the final one-lap shootout, while Sébastien Loeb made it a Citroën 1-2-3 on the Race 1 grid.

Norbert Michelisz set the pace in his Zengõ Motorsport Honda during the opening qualifying phase, while the more-fancied Chevrolets of Dušan Borković and Gianni Morbidelli both found themselves facing an early elimination courtesy of some improved pace from the three LADAs. Former champion Rob Huff managed to get his Granta WTCC into the second phase, just edging out teammate James Thompson for the final spot.

Q2 saw Loeb and Muller move to the top of the timesheets and sit out the remainder of the session, confident their times would get them into the five-car shootout for pole in Q3. López needed two runs to guarantee his spot after aborting his first run, but he moved to the top of the timesheets with a 1:43.813.

Rob Huff

Huff will start Race 2 from pole position

Michelisz and Tiago Monteiro got their Hondas through into the final five. Tom Chilton went sixth-fastest to claim top Chevrolet honours for ROAL Motorsport ahead of the remaining Hondas of Gabriele Tarquini and Mehdi Bennani.

With the fastest ten qualifiers having their grid positions reversed for Sunday’s second race, ninth-fastest Hugo Valente will start alongside the LADA of Rob Huff on the front row, with the latter managing the Russian carmaker’s best qualifying result of the 2014 season.

After suffering a turbo fire in practice, Tom Coronel couldn’t get his ROAL Chevrolet into the top-ten; he shares the sixth row of the grid with fellow Chevrolet runner René Münnich.

The shootout for pole position was always going to be a three-way fight between the Citroëns of Muller, Loeb and López. Monteiro guaranteed himself fifth on the grid with a mistake on his flying lap, leaving Michelisz to fly the Honda flag with a solid 1:44.408 which Loeb only just manage to beat.

Muller had already put himself in the frame for provisional pole position, but it was López who stole the show to the delight of his home fans. Faster in the first and final sectors of the lap, he took pole by over four-tenths of a second and earned himself an extra five points in his quest for Drivers’ Championship honours.


2014 FIA WTCC Race of Argentina – Final Qualifying:

Q3 Qualifiers Team Time Class
1. José María López Total Citroën Racing C-Elysée Citroen 1:43.766 TC1
2. Yvan Muller Total Citroën Racing C-Elysée Citroen + 0.428 TC1
3. Sébastien Loeb Total Citroën Racing C-Elysée Citroen + 0.544 TC1
4. Norbert Michelisz Zengõ Motorsport Honda Civic WTCC Honda + 0.642 TC1
5. Tiago Monteiro Castrol Honda Racing Team Civic WTCC
Honda + 1.408 TC1
Q2 Qualifiers Team Time Class
6. Tom Chilton ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet RML Cruze Chevrolet 1:44.821 TC1
7. Gabriele Tarquini Castrol Honda Racing Team Civic WTCC Honda 1:45.263 TC1
8. Mehdi Bennani Proteam Racing Honda Civic WTCC Honda 1:45.389 TC1
9. Hugo Valente Campos Racing Chevrolet RML Cruze Chevrolet 1:45.542 TC1
10. Rob Huff LADA Sport Lukoil Granta Sport 1.6T LADA 1:45.572 TC1
11. Tom Coronel nl ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet RML Cruze Chevrolet 1:45.696 TC1
12. René Münnich Münnich Motorsport Chevrolet RML Cruze Chevrolet 1:45.830 TC1
Q1 Qualifiers Team Time Class
13. James Thompson LADA Sport Lukoil Granta Sport 1.6T LADA 1:45.964 TC1
14. Dušan Borković Campos Racing Chevrolet RML Cruze Chevrolet 1:46.037 TC1
15. Gianni Morbidelli Münnich Motorsport Chevrolet RML Cruze Chevrolet 1:46.068 TC1
16. Mikhail Kozlovskiy LADA Sport Lukoil Granta Sport 1.6T LADA 1:46.622 TC1
17. Franz Engstler Liqui Moly Team Engstler BMW E90 320TC BMW 1:50.499 TC2
18. John Filippi Campos Racing SEAT León WTCC SEAT
1:51.722 TC2
19. Camilo Echevarría Liqui Moly Team Engstler BMW E90 320TC BMW 1:55.658 TC2

Images via FIA WTCC Media

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.

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