Citroën Racing driver Yvan Muller has claimed his first pole position of the 2015 World Touring Car Championship season in the series’ first dry-weather running of the weekend at the Hungaroring.

The four-time series champion posted a rapid 1:48.848 to claim top spot for the first time since the field’s visit to Belgium last year.

Critically for Muller, who needs to claw back some of the points’ deficit to reigning champion and points leader José María López, the Argentine driver starts Race 1 two spots behind the Frenchman, whose compatriot Hugo Valente – who qualified a sensational second-fastest – had a five-place grid penalty overturned after his Campos Racing team successfully appealed an earlier ruling that he had ignored a yellow flag in free practice.

The result means that Valente will start on the front row alongside his fellow Frenchman, while a third French driver in the form of Sébastien Loeb qualified fourth-fastest. The fourth works Citroën of Ma Qing Hua will start fifth, with the Chinese driver unable to set a time after his team failed to have his car ready in time for the one-lap Q3 shootout.

With the works-supported C-Elysées virtually guaranteed claiming four of the five Q3 berths, the battle for the fifth slot was intense in Q2. In the end, Valente prevailed, and left Tiago Monteiro to claim sixth-fastest in his updated Type R-spec Honda Civic, ahead of Rob Huff’s LADA and the ROAL Motorsport Chevrolets of Tom Coronel and Tom Chilton.

Local hero Norbert Michelisz was tenth-fastest in his Zengõ Motorsport Honda – critically giving him pole position for the reversed-grid Race 2 – while Mehdi Bennani and Stefano D’Aste rounded out the Q2 runners and will start on the sixth row for both races.

The big name driver to miss out entirely in qualifying was former champion Gabriele Tarquini, who crashed his Honda at the start of qualifying after catching a damp patch of track at Turn 4. The Italian caused significant derangement to the brand new front splitter of his car, triggering a read flag while his car was recovered by the marshals.

The first of Sunday’s two 14-lap races gets underway at first race at 13:30 CET (GMT +2).

2015 FIA WTCC Race of Hungary – Final Qualifying
Q3 Qualifiers Team Time Class
1. Yvan Muller Citroën Total WTCC C-Elysée 1:48.848
2. Hugo Valente Campos Racing Chevrolet RML Cruze 1:49.081 IND
3. José María López Citroën Total WTCC C-Elysée 1:49.567
4. Sébastien Loeb Citroën Total WTCC C-Elysée 1:49.572
5. Ma Qing Hua Citroën Total WTCC C-Elysée no time
Q2 Qualifiers Team Time Class
6. Tiago Monteiro Honda Racing Team JAS Civic WTCC 1:49.819
7. Rob Huff LADA Sport Rosneft Vesta WTCC 1:49.834
8. Tom Coronel ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet RML Cruze 1:50.021 IND
9. Tom Chilton ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet RML Cruze 1:50.284 IND
10. Norbert Michelisz Zengõ Motorsport Honda Civic WTCC 1:50.301
11. Mehdi Bennani Sébastien Loeb Racing Citroën C-Elysée 1:50.384 IND
12. Stefano D’Aste Münnich Motorsport Chevrolet RML Cruze 1:51.745 IND
Q1 Qualifiers Team Time Class
13. John Filippi Campos Racing Chevrolet RML Cruze 1:51.715 IND
14. James Thompson LADA Sport Rosneft Vesta WTCC 1:52.153
15. Grégoire Demoustier Craft-Bamboo Racing Chevrolet RML Cruze 1:52.355 IND
16. Mikhail Kozlovskiy LADA Sport Rosneft Vesta WTCC 1:54.179
17.. Gabriele Tarquini Honda Racing Team JAS Civic WTCC no time

Image 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.