Reigning FIA World Touring Car champion José María López will start from pole position for the series’ inaugural race at the Nürburgring Nordschliefe on Saturday.
The Argentine lapped progressively quicker in the one-hour special qualifying session on Friday afternoon, posting an eventual lap time of 8:37.327 around the 25-kilometre circuit.
While manay expected the field’s five Citroëns to dominate proceedings in qualifying, there were surprise performances from two Independent Trophy runners.
Campos Racing’s Hugo Valente repeated the impressive qualifying pace he’d shown a fortnight ago at the Hungaroring by claiming a front-row spot for Race 1, lapping just 1.2 seconds off López’s ultimate pace.
Race 2 winner at the Hungaroring, Norbert Michelisz, qualified fourth-fastest in his Zengõ Motorsport Honda, behind the second Citroën C-Elysée of Sébastien Loeb. The former rally ace’s teammates Ma Qing Hua and Yvan Muller locked out the third row of the grid.
The final stages of qualifying saw attention turn to who would grab pole position for Race 2, as the ten-fastest qualifiers have their positions reversed. Valente’s teammate John Filippi held the spot for much of the session, only to be deposed by ROAL Motorsport’s Tom Chilton.
Chilton has himself bundled out of the top-ten by his own teammate Tom Coronel, who qualified ninth-fastest and pushed Honda’s Tiago Monteiro into tenth and an effective reversed-grid pole position.
Nürburgring expert Sabine Schmitz had a tougher qualifying session in her Münnich Motorsport Chevrolet and qualified fifteenth-fastest. She was two spots behind LADA’s Rob Huff, who was the sole member of the Russian team to post a time after he and teammate Jaap van Lagen both suffered with engine dramas.
The first WTCC race at the Nürburgring Nordschleife will be run over three laps from 11:15AM CET, ahead of a short parc fermé period for the start of Race 2.
|2015 FIA WTCC Race of Germany – Final Qualifying|
|1.||José María López||Citroën Total WTCC C-Elysée||8:37.327|
|2.||Hugo Valente||Campos Racing Chevrolet RML Cruze||+ 1.252||IND|
|3.||Sébastien Loeb||Citroën Total WTCC C-Elysée||+ 2.608|
|4.||Norbert Michelisz||Zengõ Motorsport Honda Civic WTCC||+ 3.268|
|5.||Ma Qing Hua||Citroën Total WTCC C-Elysée||+ 3.925|
|6.||Yvan Muller||Citroën Total WTCC C-Elysée||+ 4.029|
|7.||Mehdi Bennani*||Sébastien Loeb Racing Citroën C-Elysée||+ 5.238||IND|
|8.||Gabriele Tarquini||Honda Racing Team JAS Civic WTCC||+ 6.168|
|9.||Tom Coronel*||ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet RML Cruze||+ 6.319||IND|
|10.||Tiago Monteiro||Honda Racing Team JAS Civic WTCC||+ 6.396|
|11.||Tom Chilton||ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet RML Cruze||+ 6.481||IND|
|12.||John Filippi*||Campos Racing Chevrolet RML Cruze||+ 7.305||IND|
|13.||Rob Huff*||LADA Sport Rosneft Vesta WTCC||+ 8.358|
|14.||Stefano D’Aste||Münnich Motorsport Chevrolet RML Cruze||+ 10.043||IND|
|15.||Sabine Schmitz||Münnich Motorsport Chevrolet RML Cruze||+ 11.847||IND|
|16.||Grégoire Demoustier||Craft-Bamboo Racing Chevrolet RML Cruze||+ 15.254||IND|
|DNQ.||Jaap van Lagen*||LADA Sport Rosneft Vesta WTCC||no time|
* Will start from the rear of the grid for Race 1 after unscheduled engine change.
Image via FIA WTCC Media