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|
|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||Audi Sport Team Comtoyou||no time|
|5.||Esteban Guerrieri||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||no time|
|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||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|
|13.||Denis Dupont||Comtoyou Racing||1:45.206||+ 0.715|
|14.||Benjamin Lessennes||Boutsen Ginion Racing||1:45.257||+ 0.766|
|15.||Nathanaël Berthon||Comtoyou Racing||1:45.303||+ 0.812|
|16.||Fabrizio Giovanardi||Mulsanne SRL||1:45.348||+ 0.857|
|17.||Gianni Morbidelli||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||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|
|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
- 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