WTCR Second Qualifying flash: Muller grabs DHL Pole for Race 3
Yvan Muller will start Race 3 of WTCR Race of Netherlands from the DHL Pole Position after topping Sunday morning qualifying at Zandvoort, which ended with 0.9s having covered the top 25 in the first phase of the session.
The Frenchman was mighty in the Q3 shootout in his Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 03 TCR, setting a time 0.443s quicker than the next best, team-mate Yann Ehrlacher, his nephew.
Fellow Cyan Racing driver and Race 1 winner Thed Björk topped the 20-minute Q1 session, from Norbert Michelisz and Johan Kristofferson. Only the top 12 graduate to Q2 and as always, that left a number of frontrunners on the #WTCR2019SUPERGRID out of the session.
SLR Volkswagen’s Benjamin Leuchter just made the cut in P12, but Comtoyou DHL Team CUPRA Racing’s Aurélien Panis missed out in P13, as did inaugural WTCR / OSACRO title winner Gabriele Tarquini in P14, Jean-Karl Vernay in P15, Andy Priaulx – who qualified third for Race 1 on Saturday – in P17 and Comtoyou Team Audi Sport’s Frédéric Vervisch in P20.
The dozen who made it through to Q2 then had 10 minutes to secure their place in the Q3 top-five shootout. Björk was again quickest, with team-mate Yvan Muller jumping up to second on his final run. The others to make the top five were Michelisz, Augusto Farfus and Yann Ehrlacher, with PWR Racing’s Mikel Azcona – a podium finisher in Race 1 – just missing out in sixth as 0.5s covered the top 12 runners.
As the order shuffled in the final moments, ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport’s Esteban Guerrieri found himself in P10, ensuring the Honda Civic Type R TCR will start from the DHL Pole Position in the reverse-grid Race 2.
Once Björk had elected to head out third in the Q3 shootout, Michelisz chose to run first. The Hungarian set a benchmark of 1m44.734s. Muller was next, the four-time World Touring Car champion proving comfortably quicker than Michelisz – by 0.580s.
Muller had set a tough target for Björk and the Swede didn’t have an answer for such pace. His time was 0.502s slower than Muller, but a scant 0.078s quicker than Michelisz. “Fantastic job,” Björk said of Muller’s effort on the radio as he returned to parc ferme.
Ehrlacher, a winner at Zandvoort last season, ran next and had enough to go second, 0.443s off his uncle’s benchmark. That left Farfus as the final contender to run, but the Brazilian struggled to set a competitive time and was fifth fastest.
That left Muller as the pacesetter, from Ehrlacher, Björk, Michelisz and Farfus.
Race 2 of WTCR Race of Netherlands takes place at 13h15 local time, with Race 3 scheduled to start at 16h35.