Polestar Cyan Racing’s Thed Björk has claimed his and Volvo’s first ever pole position in the FIA World Touring Car Championship after a dominant display at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza.
The Swede had been the quickest driver in Saturday’s second practice session, matching the effort in the second phase of qualifying to give himself the final run in the five-car one-lap shootout for pole position.
He then went on to clock a 1:52.505 to finish over three-tenths of a second clear of early championship leader Tiago Monteiro.
With Monza’s long straights disadvantaging the Honda Civic hatchback model, Monteiro was the Japanese marque’s sole representative in Q3, having surprisingly gone quickest in Saturday’s opening practice session.
Rob Huff claimed third place on the grid for Sunday’s Main Race in his Münnich Motorsport Citroën C-Elysée. After provisionally qualifying fifth-fastest in Q2, he was the first man on track for the one-lap pole shootout and posted a 1:52.968.
That time proved too good for Björk’s teammates, Nicky Catsburg and Néstor Girolami, who ensured all three Volvo S60s made the top-five shootout thanks to some smart teamwork where they ran as a three-car slipstream in Q1 and Q2.
Girolami could count himself unlucky after making an error at the Ascari chicane on his Q3 run that consigned him to fifth on the grid.
Monteiro’s teammate Norbert Michelisz ran out of time to try and sneak into Q3 and was unable to start another flying lap where Monteiro had planned to help slipstream the Hungarian around the 5.8-kilometre circuit.
He will start the Main Race from sixth place ahead of Tom Chilton, who was the quickest of the three Sébastien Loeb Racing Citroën drivers. His teammate Mehdi Bennani was ninth-fastest, with the pair sandwich Morocco race-winner Esteban Guerrieri.
Guerrieri was forced to stage a recovery in qualifying after he had two of his lap times deleted for exceeding the track limits.
Fellow Chevrolet runner Tom Coronel qualified tenth-fastest – recovering after sliding up the escape road at the Variante Della Roggia chicane – to ensure he will have pole position for the reversed-grid Opening Race.
WTCC debutante Kevin Gleason qualified his RC Motorsport LADA Vesta fifteenth-fastest.
|2017 FIA World Touring Car Championship Oscaro Race of Italy – Final Qualifying Results|
|1.||Thed Björk||Polestar Cyan Racing Volvo S60 TC1||1:52.505|
|2.||Tiago Monteiro||Castrol Honda WTCC Team Civic WTCC||1:52.821|
|3.||Rob Huff||Münnich Motorsport Citroën C-Elysée||1:52.968||IND|
|4.||Nick Catsburg||Polestar Cyan Racing Volvo S60 TC1||1:53.013|
|5.||Néstor Girolami||Polestar Cyan Racing Volvo S60 TC1||1:57.834|
|6.||Norbert Michelisz||Castrol Honda WTCC Team Civic WTCC||1:52.606|
|7.||Tom Chilton||Sébastien Loeb Racing Citroën C-Elysée||1:53.081||IND|
|8.||Esteban Guerrieri||Campos Racing Chevrolet RML Cruze||1:53.404||IND|
|9.||Mehdi Bennani||Sébastien Loeb Racing Citroën C-Elysée||1:53.584||IND|
|10.||Tom Coronel||ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet RML Cruze||1:53.678||IND|
|11.||Ryo Michigami||Honda Racing Team JAS Civic WTCC||1:53.973|
|12.||Yann Ehrlacher||RC Motorsport LADA Vesta WTCC||no time||IND|
|13.||John Filippi||Sébastien Loeb Racing Citroën C-Elysée||1:54.123||IND|
|14.||Aurélien Panis||Zengõ Motorsport Honda Civic WTCC||1:54.221||IND|
|15.||Kevin Gleason||RC Motorsport LADA Vesta WTCC||1:54.978||IND|
|16.||Dániel Nagy||Zengõ Motorsport Honda Civic WTCC||1:55.040||IND|
* Post-Qualifying Penalties:
- To be advised
Image via FIA WTCC Media