The Panel of the Stewards has hit out with force at the drivers who turned today’s WTCC qualifying session at the Salzburgring into a slow procession.
Fourteen of them were investigated and twelve deemed guilty for “Unsporting behaviour on the track which damages the image of motorsport in general and in particular the FIA WTCC” either in Q1 or Q2 or in both. The relevant offences relate to breaches of Appendix L, Chapter 4, Article 2e (that states: It is not permitted to drive any car unnecessarily slowly...) and Article 151 of the International Sporting Code.
The Stewards imposed the following grid penalties for tomorrow’s Race 1: Tarquini (6th) twenty-four; Oriola (8th) sixteen; Coronel (12th) fiftteen; Muller (1st), Chilton (2nd), Monteiro (7th) and Michelisz (9th) twelve; Huff (3rd) ten; MacDowall (4th) eight; D’Aste (11th), Valente (18th) and O’Young (19th) five positions.
These competitors also received fines ranging from € 1,000 to 6,000.
This places Michel Nykjær – the only Q2 qualifier not under investigation – on pole position for the first race.
Muller fastest after strangest qualifying ever
The least it can be said is that this was the strangest qualifying session ever in WTCC. Possibly one of the strangest ever in motorsport history.
It is true that slipstream at the Salzburgring makes a big difference – up to seven tenths a lap for WTCC cars. And this pushed drivers to act like sprint cyclists in a velodrome.
Provisional results spoke of Muller’s third pole position of the season, the second in a row after Budapest. However, the Stewards had something to say and punished fourteen drivers.