WTCR Second Qualifying Flash: Leuchter scores pole at home
Benjamin Leuchter scored his first DHL Pole Position in the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO, beating his rivals to the Second Qualifying top spot on his home track, the Nürburgring Nordschleife.
Rob Huff made it a Sébastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR one-two with WTCR / OSCARO title leader and Race 1 DHL pole-sitter Esteban Guerrieri in third to continue his impressive WTCR Race of Germany weekend for Honda-powered ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport.
With track conditions more consistent than in First Qualifying, the gaps between the 27-strong #WTCR2019SUPERGRID were incredibly close despite the monstrous 25.378-kilometre length of the Nürburgring Nordschelife circuit.
Yann Ehrlacher (Cyan Performance Lynk & Co) set the initial pace before SLR Volkswagen driver and local hero Leuchter made his move with a 10m18.944s, 1.874s quicker than Free Practice 1 pacesetter Huff.
Nicky Catsburg slotted his BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Racing Team i30 N TCR into third after the early running, with Daniel Haglöf muscling his PWR Racing CUPRA in between Catsburg and his Hyundai-powered team-mate Augusto Farfus.
However, Catsburg’s running was curtailed when he damaged his front-left suspension striking a crash barrier, which forced the Dutchman to crawl back to the pits. There was no time for repairs and he ended up P23.
But as the track conditions continued to improve, the lap times fell dramatically with Leuchter returning to the top of the order, 0.083s quicker than Huff.
The German’s joy was brief, however, as team-mate Johan Kristoffersson, who was quickest in Free Practice 2, became the first driver to break the 10-minute mark with a 9m57.497s effort before wildcard entrant Antti Buri then usurped Kristoffersson; the Finn 0.206s faster in his Audi.
But eventually it was Leuchter who would prevail, again edging out Huff with the pair separated by just 1.482s in the final classification as a late flurry of position changes made for a dramatic end to the session, which included a heavy crash for Haglöf.
After spending the majority of the session outside the top 15, Guerrieri stormed up to third ahead of BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corsa duo Norbert Michelisz and Gabriele Tarquini, and SLR’s Mehdi Bennani.
Frédéric Vervisch took seventh after his Comtoyou Team Audi Sport mechanics repaired his damaged RS 3 LMS following the Belgian’s First Qualifying mishap. KCMG Honda driver Attila Tassi was eighth quickest ahead of Buri and Kristoffersson, whose capture of P10 hands him the reverse-grid DHL Pole Position for Race 2.
Race 1 is up next at 17h30 local time on Friday with Races 2 and 3 scheduled for 11h00 and 12h20 on Saturday.