Norbert Michelisz has taken pole position for the third World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) race at the Slovakiaring, which is set to get underway on Sunday afternoon. After a difficult opening race, Michelisz will be thankful that his weekend now seems to be back on track ahead of the remaining two races.
In keeping with the spectacle that we’ve been treated to so far in Slovakia, today’s qualifying session threw up a few surprise results. Sebastien Loeb Racing continued to struggle, with neither Rob Huff nor Mehdi Bennani managing to break into the top twenty. Only just ahead of them, championship contender Thed Bjork was left incredibly frustrated as he could do no better than 19th place.
Another championship contender in strife was Yann Ehrlacher. The young Frenchman was knocked out of the session early on, after only being able to go thirteenth fastest. However, as some of the bigger names fell by the wayside, a few of the championship’s underdogs began to shine.
In particular, the Cupra-equipped duo of John Filippi and Norbert Nagy put in their best qualifying performances of the season. After Pepe Oriola‘s race win earlier in the day, the Spanish marque has clearly found a bit of extra speed from somewhere. Despite not having been able to score a single point so far in 2018, Norbert Nagy went quick enough to secure tenth place in qualifying, and therefore pole position for the reversed-grid second race. As for John Filippi, the Frenchman did even better than team-mate Oriola in this session as he secured a top five starting grid position for the first time.
Likewise, Aurelien Comte also made it into the top five shootout in qualifying for the first time. In fact, had it not been for Michelisz, the DG Sport Competition Peugeot 308TCR would’ve taken pole position for race three. Instead, Comte will have to make do with second place instead, alongside the Hungarian.
Esteban Guerrieri and Yvan Muller will lock-out the second row on race three’s starting grid, while Pepe Oriola lines up just behind Filippi in sixth. Belgian duo, Frederic Vervisch and Benjamin Lessennes look to recover from a poor opening race after qualifying in seventh and eighth respectively. The top ten is completed by Gabriele Tarquini, and of course, Norbert Nagy.