Muller Inherits Austria WTCC Pole after Morbidelli Penalty


Yvan Muller - Photo Credit: FIA WTCC
Yvan Muller - Photo Credit: FIA WTCC

Gianni Morbidelli had appeared to have ended Citroen‘s pole position streak in the World Touring Car Championship at the Salzburgring, but a penalty later handed top spot to Yvan Muller.

Munnich Motorsport Chevrolet driver Morbidelli had beaten Muller by 0.049 seconds in the single-lap Q3 shoot-out, but the Italian was later handed a five-place grid penalty for an infraction during Q1. It was judged that Morbidelli had improved his time under yellow flags, and he will now have to start race one from sixth.

That allowed Muller, who currently sits third in the standings, to inherit his third pole from the five events so far this season. Sebastien Loeb will line up alongside him on the front row, while Tom Coronel will head up row two in his ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet ahead of the final Citroen of Jose Maria Lopez.

Tom Chilton will start fifth in the second ROAL car after only being narrowly beaten into Q3 by Lopez.

The four Honda Civics lacked pace compared to the Citroens and Chevrolets, and will fill positions seven to ten on the grid, with Tiago Monteiro leading Mehdi Bennani, Norbert Michelisz and Gabriele Tarquini. The quartet will start race two from the front two rows thanks to the reverse grid.

It was a miserable Saturday for Campos Racing. Hugo Valente ended his weekend early with a heavy crash in practice and team-mate Dusan Borkovic then had a near-repeat at the same corner in Q2, but escaped with less significant damage.

The Ladas of British drivers James Thompson and Rob Huff failed to make the grade in the first session, and will share row seven behind Rene Munnich and Borkovic.