FIRST QUALIFYING REPORT
FIA WTCR RACE OF NETHERLANDS
ZANDVOORT, 19-21 May 2018
WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO, Rounds 10-12 of 30
HUFF CHARGES TO DHL POLE AS 0.9s COVERS TOP 15 AT WTCR RACE OF NETHERLANDS
*Briton rewards Sébastien Loeb Racing team for hard work following Germany crash
*Ehrlacher misses out on first place by 0.113s as top 15 covered by 0.9s
*Four customer racing brands in top seven at WTCR Race of Netherlands
*Home hero Coronel eighth, Prince Bernhard van Oranje completes packed ranking
Rob Huff will start from the DHL Pole Position for Race 1 at WTCR Race of Netherlands after winning a tight qualifying battle with Yann Ehrlacher in the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO at Zandvoort this morning (Sunday).
Huff, in a Sébastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR, set a time of 1m43.945s to beat Ehrlacher’s ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR to the top spot by just 0.113s as four customer racing brands featured in the top seven.
“A huge thanks to Sébastien Loeb Racing and Volkswagen,” said Huff, whose car required significant repairs after crashing out at the Nürburgring last week. “I managed two really good laps. We deserve this. The boys have worked so hard. Hopefully this afternoon I’ll be gone and not looking back. We need lots of points.”
Huff led most of the session, although Ehrlacher – quickest in Free Practice 1 yesterday – pushed him hard for first place, the Frenchman jumping to the head of the times twice before Huff banked the performance he needed to secure the DHL Pole Position Award.
Behind the pair, triple British Touring Car champion Gordon Shedden was third, his Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team Audi RS 3 LMS heading team-mate Jean-Karl Vernay. Belgian teenager Benjamin Lessennes was next in his Boutsen Ginion Racing Honda.
Comtoyou Racing’s Nathanaël Berthon was P6 in his Audi, ahead of Aurélien Comte who consolidated his strong practice form in his DG Sport Compétition PEUGEOT 308TCR.
There was good news for the huge, enthusiastic Zandvoort crowd as popular local hero Tom Coronel enjoyed an upturn in fortunes after a difficult practice day. The Dutchman, in a second Boutsen Ginion Racing Honda, was eighth quickest.
Comtoyou Racing’s Frédéric Vervisch was P9, with Esteban Guerrieri – fastest in the second practice session yesterday – surprisingly propping up the top 10 in his ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda. Mehdi Bennani took P11, Aurélien Panis P12 and Denis Dupont P13.
The Hyundai i30 N TCRs have so far been unable to match their pace of previous events following changes to the Balance of Performance for this weekend. Norbert Michelisz was the best of the quartet down in P14 for BRC Racing Team. YMR duo Thed Björk and WTCR points leader Yvan Muller languished in P19 and P21 respectively, while Gabriele Tarquini’s BRC entry was P24.
Wildcard entries Michael Verhagen and Prince Bernhard van Oranje were P25 and P27 in their all-orange Bas Koeten Racing Audis.
The session was red flagged briefly after 10 of the 30 minutes when Zengő Motorsport’s Zsolt Zsabó crashed his Cupra TCR into the tyre barriers in sector 2 of the 4.307-kilometre circuit. He ended up P26 with team-mate Norbert Nagy P23.
James Thompson was P15, Gianni Morbidelli a season-best P16 for Team Mulsanne with fellow Alfa Romeo Giulietta driver Fabrizio Giovanardi P20. Pepe Oriola was P17 for Team OSCARO by Campos Racing. Team-mate John Filippi was P18 in a second Cupra TCR. Mato Homola ended up P22 in a second DG PEUGEOT.
Race 1 at WTCR Race of Netherlands takes place on Sunday afternoon at 16h20 local time. Click here to find out how to watch live digital coverage.
More on OSCARO: wtcr.oscaro.com