Hungary WTCC: Huff on pole as Hondas struggle
Britain's Rob Huff claimed pole for Sunday’s main WTCC race at the Hungaroring with an impressive lap in the final part of qualifying.
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Munnich Motorsport driver Huff was the last driver to attempt his flying lap in the Q3 shootout session, but clocked fastest times in every sector in his privateer Citroen to record a fastest time of 1m48.264s.
That beat Mehdi Bennani’s previous benchmark by 0.327s, securing Huff a first WTCC pole since the championship’s visit to Marrakesh last year
“Huge congratulations to this team,” said Huff.
“The pressure is on when you’re last to go and you hear the times go through; but the car was brilliant.”
Bennani was handed a five-place penalty as a result of an incident with Norbert Michelisz at Monza a fortnight earlier, but that will be applied to his starting position on the opening reversed-grid race, meaning the Moroccan keeps his front row grid slot for the main race.
Esteban Guerrieri was a standout third in his Campos Racing Chevrolet, the Argentinian – who won the season opener in Marrakesh – beating the factory Volvos of Nicky Catsburg and Nestor Girolami in the final session.
Of those who did not squeeze into Q3, the factory Hondas were most recognisable by their absence.
Home favourite Norbert Michelisz had set the pace in Saturday morning’s second practice session in the wet, but both he and teammate Tiago Monteiro – saddled with the maximum 80 kilograms of success ballast – fared worse in dry qualifying.
Michelisz ended up best-placed of all of them, qualifying sixth, with points leader Monteiro ninth and the third factory car of Ryo Michigami 12th.
Tom Chilton (SLR Citroen) and Monteiro’s closest rival in the points, the third Volvo of Thed Bjork, finished seventh and eighth in qualifying between the Honda pair, while 10th-placed qualifier John Filippi secured pole for Sunday’s reversed-grid race.
With predictions of rain before qualifying proving wide of the mark, the closing minutes of the first session proved to be the most frantic of all as times tumbled.
While the frontrunners survived the rush, Tom Coronel was the biggest casualty in his ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet.
Coronel had recorded personal best times in sector one and sector two on his final flying lap, but ended up 0.056s shy of a spot in Q2, complaining his car “doesn’t feel proper” and had “a lot of understeer”.
Hungary WTCC: Michelisz leads Honda 1-2 in wet final practice
Hungary WTCC: Monteiro holds off Chilton to win opening race