FIA WTCR / Oscaro

WTCR JAPAN Qualifying 1 - Highlights

Aurélien Comte claimed his first DHL Pole Position in the opening qualifying session of WTCR JVCKENWOOD Race of Japan as action in the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO intensified at Suzuka. The DG Sport Compétition driver set a best lap of 2m11.536s in his PEUGEOT 308TCR, which was good enough to knock Kevin Ceccon’s rapid Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR from the top spot. “My first pole in WTCR, it’s fantastic for the team,” said Comte. “I am very happy.” Ceccon had been on the pace in the second free practice session, only to hit a tyre stack and damage a wheel on his Alfa. Following quick repairs from Team Mulsanne, he was once again on strong form and leapt to the top of the times after 11 minutes of the session. But Comte bettered his mark with 10 minutes to go. ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport pair Esteban Guerrieri and Yann Ehrlacher were third and fourth in their Honda Civic Type R TCRs, while Hyundai rivals Gabriele Tarquini and Yvan Muller were fifth and sixth for BRC Racing Team and YMR respectively. Once again the times were tight around the 5.8km circuit, with less than a second separating the top 15. Sébastien Loeb Racing’s Mehdi Bennani was next up in his Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR, ahead of the second BRC Hyundai of Norbert Michelisz. Jean-Karl Vernay, who had appeared to be struggling for pace in his Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team RS 3 LMS, put in a big effort to go ninth, while Comte’s team-mate Mato Homola – who had been fastest in free practice 1 – completed the top 10. Frédéric Vervisch was the first of the Comtoyou Audis in P11, ahead of the fastest Cupra TCR of Pepe Oriola. Comtoyou’s Aurélien Panis and Nathanaël Berthon were next, while Briton Rob Huff languished in a disappointing P15. But at least he was ahead of YMR title contender Thed Björk, who could manage no better than P17 in his Hyundai. Tiago Monteiro was P20 in his first WTCR OSCARO qualifying session in his Boutsen Ginion Racing Honda, as he continued his remarkable comeback from injury, with Vernay’s team-mate Gordon Shedden – a race winner last time out – in P22.