Jean-Karl Vernay claimed his first FIA WTCR pole position for the final race of the series’ visit to Zandvoort, edging out Sunday race-winner Rob Huff in the one-lap shootout.

The Frenchman was untouchable on his one-lap shootout lap for pole position, claiming top spot by almost half a second in his WRT Audi to give the RS3 LMS its first P1 grid slot on merit this season.

The TCR International Series champion will need to keep out of trouble in the event’s second race, however, as he will start that at the tail of the field as a result of an unscheduled engine change.

Vernay’s earlier engine change did not dampen the confidence among the Audi runners, who find themselves with a genuine race-winning package that will allow their teams and drivers to snatch valuable championship points while chief rivals Hyundai find their competitiveness taking a major hit thanks to the latest Balance of Performance adjustments.

Vernay was joined in the final five-car shootout by his WRT Audi teammate Gordon Shedden and fellow Audi runner Frédéric Vervisch (Comtoyou Racing), although the latter stopped his car in the first sector on his shootout lap.

Huff managed to haul his VW Golf GTi into second place to split the WRT entries, despite clearly struggling with oversteer in his car. Vervish will start Race 3 from fourth place ahead of Esteban Guerrieri, who did not attempt a shootout lap in his Münnich Motorsport Honda.

The third row of the grid for Race 3 will be an all-Münnich affair thanks to Race 1 winner Yann Ehrlacher qualifying sixth-fastest, narrowly missing out on a Q3 berth.

Completing the top ten qualifiers were Mehdi Bennani (Sébastien Loeb Racing VW Golf), Pepe Oriola (Campos Racing Cupra), Aurélien Comte (DG Sport Compétition Peugeot and James Thompson (Münnich Honda), with Thompson securing the reversed-grid pole position for Race 2 this afternoon.

Having won every pole position with one of its cars at the preceding rounds in Morocco, Hungary and Germany, the field’s four Hyundais were well off the pace and none of its four drivers to get beyond the first phase of qualifying.

Yvan Muller’s hastily repaired car helped him qualify a rather inglorious 18th-fastest, almost a second shy of making the Q2 cut. His teammate Thed Björk was one spot behind, with fellow i30 runners Norbert Michelisz (20th) and Gabriele Tarquini (22nd) further back.

The second race is scheduled for 12:15 CEST, with Race 3 at 16:35 CEST (GMT +2).


2018 FIA World Touring Car Cup Race of Netherlands – Races 2 & 3 Final Qualifying Results
Q3 Qualifiers Team Time Gap
1. Jean-Karl Vernay Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team 1:43.994
2. Rob Huff Sébastien Loeb Racing 1:44.453 + 0.459
3. Gordon Shedden Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team 1:44.590 + 0.596
4. Frédéric Vervisch be Audi Sport Team Comtoyou no time
5. Esteban Guerrieri ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport no time
Q2 Qualifiers Team Time Gap**
6. Yann Ehrlacher ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport 1:44.483 + 0.278
7. Mehdi Bennani Sébastien Loeb Racing 1:44.592 + 0.387
8. Pepe Oriola es Team OSCARO by Campos Racing 1:44.642 + 0.437
9. Aurélien Comte DG Sport Compétition 1:44.922 + 0.717
10. James Thompson ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport 1:44.972 + 0.767
11. John Filippi Team OSCARO by Campos Racing 1:45.040 + 0.835
12. Aurélien Panis Comtoyou Racing 1:45.141 + 0.936
Q1 Qualifiers Team Time Gap*
13. Denis Dupont be Comtoyou Racing 1:45.206 + 0.715
14. Benjamin Lessennes be Boutsen Ginion Racing 1:45.257 + 0.766
15. Nathanaël Berthon Comtoyou Racing 1:45.303 + 0.812
16. Fabrizio Giovanardi it Mulsanne SRL 1:45.348 + 0.857
17. Gianni Morbidelli it Mulsanne SRL 1:45.511 + 1.020
18. Yvan Muller MRacing – YMR 1:45.522 + 1.031
19. Thed Björk MRacing – YMR 1:45.640 + 1.149
20. Norbert Michelisz BRC Racing Team 1:45.758 + 1.267
21. Mat’o Homola DG Sport Compétition 1:45.774 + 1.283
22. Gabriele Tarquini it BRC Racing Team 1:45.932 + 1.441
23. Norbert Nagy Zengõ Motorsport 1:45.970 + 1.479
24. Tom Coronel Boutsen Ginion Racing 1:46.001 + 1.510
25. Bernhard van Oranje Bas Koeten Racing 1:46.179 + 1.688
26. Zsolt Dávid Szabó Zengõ Motorsport 1:46.232 + 1.741
Excluded Team
EXC. Michael Verhagen Bas Koeten Racing excluded

* Denotes gap to fastest Q1 time of 1:44.491 posted by Jean-Karl Vernay 
** Denotes gap to fastest Q2 time of 1:44.205 posted by Frédéric Vervisch

Post-Qualifying Penalties:

  • Jean-Karl Vernay – who provisionally qualified fastest – will start Race 2 from the back of the grid due to an unscheduled engine change.
  • Norbert Michelisz – who provisionally qualified 20th-fastest – will serve a 10-place grid penalty in Race 2 for colliding with Yvan Muller during Race 1.
  • Michael Verhagen had his qualifying times excluded for failing to visit the weighbridge as instructed.

Image via FIA WTCR 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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