Yvan Muller topped qualifying for the fourth round of this year’s World Touring Car Championship at the Hungaroring, while local hero Norbert Michelisz claimed second place as the best of the Hondas.
Frenchman Muller put in a superb lap of 1m53.426s, enough to put him 0.38s clear of anyone else.
It was Michelisz who came closest with a late improvement, securing a front row slot for his home race and beating both of the factory Honda drivers. They will share the second row of the grid, with Marrakech and Slovakia pole-sitter Gabriele Tarquini third ahead of Tiago Monteiro in fourth.
“I was very happy with my time in Q2,” said Muller. “It was nearly a perfect lap. It is true that our car has always been competitive here and today was especially quick in the first sector. Now we have to focus on the second sector, because we lose something there compared to the Honda cars, though not enough to lose the pole.
“Tomorrow I’ll be surrounded by Honda cars at the start of the first race. I’ll do my best to stay in the lead after the first corner. If I manage to do this, then I am confident, because I think we have a good set up for the race.”
Michelisz, who took a memorable victory at the Hungaroring last year, said: “It was a very emotional day for us. From the first practice we had seen that the car was competitive and I then knew we could have made the top three in qualifying.
“To be on the front row is amazing, my best qualifying so far with Honda. My lap was almost perfect and I wanted to please the fans who came to support me today. Now I have the opportunity to fight for a podium result tomorrow. Maybe I could have been a bit faster, but it was not possible to beat Yvan’s time. It is a very nice feeling to be the fastest of the Honda drivers.”
Fresh from victory in Slovakia last weekend, Tom Coronel secured a strong fifth place on the grid in his BMW ahead of Muller’s RML Chevrolet team-mate Tom Chilton. James Nash was the top Yokohama Trophy runner in his Bamboo Engineering Chevrolet in seventh overall ahead of reigning world champion Rob Huff’s Munnich Motorsport SEAT.
Mehdi Bennani was ninth for Proteam, while Alex MacDowall secured pole position for race two with tenth place in the second Bamboo Chevrolet.
Michel Nykjaer and Fredy Barth completed the 12 drivers in the Q2 shootout, with Pepe Oriola the first of the Q1 casualties in 13th.