Hungarian fans will be hoping to cheer Norbert Michelisz to victory in the third and final World Touring Car Cup race at the Hungaroring after the BRC Racing Hyundai driver snatched pole position in an ultra-close qualifying session.
Michelisz just scraped into the final one-lap shootout for pole position before posting a 1:52.784 after the quicker time of Saturday pole-sitter and race-winner Néstor Girolami was disallowed when he exceeded the track limits at Turn 4.
He then had a tense wait while his fellow Q3 runners tried to beat his time, with current championship leader Esteban Guerrieri falling short by a scant 0.008 seconds in his Münnich Motorsport Honda.
Fastest in the preceding Q2 session, Yann Ehrlacher fell just 0.04 seconds shy of Michelisz’s time in his Cyan Performance Lynk & Co, securing third on the grid ahead of Michelisz’s teammate and defending WTCR champion Gabriele Tarquini.
Michelisz’s last-gasp effort in Q2 dumped impressive rookie driver Mikel Azcona’s PWR Cupra into sixth-fastest. The Spanish youngster qualified ahead of Thed Björk (Cyan Racing Lynk & Co), Augusto Farfus (BRC Racing Hyundai) and the sister PWR Cupra of team owner/driver Daniel Haglöf.
Jean-Karl Vernay was the quickest of the grid’s four Audis, putting his WRT entry tenth-fastest to give himself pole position for the reversed-grid Race 2.
The Frenchman narrowly qualified ahead of British duo Rob Huff (Sebastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen) and Andy Priaulx (Cyan Performance Lynk & Co), who will start eleventh and twelfth for both of Sunday’s races.
Sunday morning’s knockout qualifying format saw a number of big names fall short, headlined by Race 1 runner-up Yvan Muller. The veteran driver complained of a vibration in the front of his car and still fell just two-tenths of a second off the Q2 cut-off to manage fifteenth in his Cyan Racing Lynk & Co.
While the Münnich Motorsport Honda duo of Guerrieri and Girolami both qualified inside the top five, the sister Honda pairing of KCMG’s Attila Tassi (17th) and Tiago Monteiro (21st) both fell short.
Huff aside, the SLR Volkswagens were again just off the pace, leaving Huff’s teammates Mehdi Bennani (18th), Benjamin Leuchter (20th) and Johan Kristoffersson (22nd) well down the grid.
|2019 FIA WTCR Race of Hungary – Race 2 & 3 Qualifying Results|
|Q3 Qualifiers||Team / Entry||Time||Gap|
|1.||Norbert Michelisz||BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse||1:52.784|
|2.||Esteban Guerrieri||Münnich Motorsport||1:52.792||+ 0.008|
|3.||Yann Ehrlacher||Cyan Performance Lynk & Co||1:52.824||+ 0.040|
|4.||Gabriele Tarquini||BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse||1:52.907||+ 0.123|
|5.||Néstor Girolami||Münnich Motorsport||disallowed|
|Q2 Qualifiers||Team / Entry||Time||Gap*|
|6.||Mikel Azcona||PWR Racing||1:52.733||+ 0.424|
|7.||Thed Björk||Cyan Racing Lynk & Co||1:52.742||+ 0.433|
|8.||Augusto Farfus||BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Racing Team||1:52.743||+ 0.434|
|9.||Daniel Haglöf||PWR Racing||1:52.772||+ 0.463|
|10.||Jean-Karl Vernay||Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport||1:52.861||+ 0.552|
|11.||Rob Huff||SLR VW Motorsport||1:52.885||+ 0.579|
|12.||Andy Priaulx||Cyan Performance Lynk & Co||1:52.948||+ 0.639|
|Q1 Qualifiers||Team / Entry||Time||Gap|
|13.||Nicky Catsburg||BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Racing Team||1:53.118||+ 0.317|
|14.||Aurélien Panis||Comtoyou Team DHL Cupra Racing||1:53.168||+ 0.367|
|15.||Yvan Muller||Cyan Racing Lynk & Co||1:53.271||+ 0.470|
|16.||Tom Coronel||Comtoyou Team DHL Cupra Racing||1:53.293||+ 0.492|
|17.||Attila Tassi||KCMG||1:53.337||+ 0.536|
|18.||Mehdi Bennani||SLR VW Motorsport||1:53.408||+ 0.607|
|19.||Frédéric Vervisch||Comtoyou Team Audi Sport||1:53.426||+ 0.625|
|20.||Benjamin Leuchter||SLR Volkswagen||1:53.563||+ 0.762|
|21.||Tiago Monteiro||KCMG||1:53.601||+ 0.800|
|22.||Johan Kristoffersson||SLR Volkswagen||1:53.629||+ 0.828|
|23.||Niels Langeveld||Comtoyou Team Audi Sport||1:53.695||+ 0.894|
|24.||Kevin Ceccon||Team Mulsanne||1:53.954||+ 1.153|
|25.||Gordon Shedden||Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport||1:54.015||+ 1.214|
|26.||Ma Qing Hua||Team Mulsanne||1:54.292||+ 1.491|
|27.||Tamás Tenke (WC)||Zengő Motorsport||1:55.276||+ 2.475|
* Denotes gap to fastest Q2 time of 1:52.309 posted by Yann Ehrlacher.
** Denotes gap to fastest Q1 time of 1:52.801 posted by Norbert Michelisz.
- The fastest five qualifiers and their respective teams are awarded championship points on a 5-4-3-2-1 sliding scale.
- To be advised
Images via FIA WTCR Media