WTCC - Michelisz claims pole as rivals struggle

Norbert Micheliz claimed the second pole position of his career as most of his main rivals at the WTCC Suzuka event committed errors.

WTCC - Michelisz claims pole as rivals struggle

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Micheliz, whose other pole position came in Slovakia last year, secured the front of the grid for Honda on their home circuit after beating a quartet of Chevrolet cars that was led by Alex MacDowall, the fastest in the Yokohama Trophy, and Tom Chilton.

They formed one of the youngest trio ever seen on top of WTCC qualifying, at an average of 26 years.

BMW men Mehdi Bennani and Tom Coronel happily settled in tenth and ninth positions, meaning that they will start from the front row on the reverse grid for tomorrow’s Race Two.

Qualifying 1

Yvan Muller completed a lap of 53.228 late in the session beating Norbert Michelisz’s provisional fastest lap of 53.341.

The dying moments were plenty of drama once again. Gabriele Tarquini and Coronel improved to third and fourth respectively, while James Nash got away from an uncomfortable 12th position and climbed to fifth.

Local drivers Hiroki Yoshimoto in the Nika Racing Chevrolet and Takuya Izawa in the third works Honda spoiled their chances to make the cut with mistakes on their last attempt.

James Thompson was the last one to join the top twelve and denied Charles Ng his first trip to Q2.

Muller, Michelisz, Tarquini, Coronel, Nash, Chilton, Tiago Monteiro, Pepe Oriola, Bennani, James Thompson, MacDowall and Robert Huff all progressed to Q2.

Qualifying 2

The first stint nearly established the whole ranking. Michelisz completed a perfect lap and broke the 53-second wall for the first time in this weekend. His 52.886 was good enough for pole position and was only a thousandth of a second slower that Alain Menu’s WTCC lap record from last year.

Most of the drivers committed mistakes while trying to improve during their second attempt – including Muller, Tarquini and Monteiro.

Only MacDowall was able to better and climbed to second with a lap of 53.011, relegating Chilton (53.101) to third.

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