Moscow WTCC: Catsburg leads shock Lada 1-2-3 in wet qualifying

Nicky Catsburg has claimed sensational pole at Moscow Raceway in a very wet qualifying session, with the Lada stunning in wet conditions at their home circuit, as teammates Gabriele Tarquini and Hugo Valente completed the top three.

Moscow WTCC: Catsburg leads shock Lada 1-2-3 in wet qualifying
Nicky Catsburg, LADA Sport Rosneft, Lada Vesta
Nicky Catsburg, LADA Sport Rosneft, Lada Vesta
James Thompson, All-Inkl Motorsport, Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1
Yvan Muller, Citroën World Touring Car Team, Citroën C-Elysée WTCC
Mehdi Bennani, Sébastien Loeb Racing, Citroën C-Elysée WTCC
Thed Björk, Polestar Cyan Racing, Volvo S60 Polestar TC1
Tiago Monteiro, Honda Racing Team JAS, Honda Civic WTCC
Gabriele Tarquini, LADA Sport Rosneft, Lada Vesta

Rain had begun to fall even more heavily ahead of qualifying, which worked against the Volvos, with both Thed Bjork and Fredrik Ekblom failing to get through into the second part of qualifying.

Meanwhile, Catsburg was already demonstrating stunning pace in the wet, topping the times in Q1 ahead of Citroen’s Lopez.

In the second part of qualifying, as the times tumbled, Honda and Citroen found themselves fighting just to make the top ten while the three Ladas led the way, with Catsburg again fastest ahead of teammates Tarquini and Valente.

Rob Huff was struggling for grip in the Honda, and missed the top ten following a late improvement for the Chevrolet of Tom Coronel, banishing the Brit down to 11th for both races, while team-mate Tiago Monteiro found himself tenth due to traffic on the circuit, securing the reversed grid pole for the opening race.

Lopez was the fastest of the Citroens in Q2, but qualifying sixth means the Argentinian missed the top five shootout, while teammate Yvan Muller qualified in eighth position.

Norbert Michelisz was the only Honda driver in the top five shootout, but the Hungarian was slower than the Munnich Motorsport Chevrolet of James Thompson, who qualified in fourth position and was also the best placed of the independent drivers.

Thompson’s time was soon beaten by the Lada of Valente, which was in turn superseded by the Tarquini, but Catsburg oblitered his teammates times with a lap 1.4 seconds faster to take the Russian manufacturer’s first pole position in the World Touring Car Championship.

“It couldn’t be any better,” said Catsburg. “I’m super surprised, I didn’t expect this at all. It shows that we with Lada Sport Rosneft have really made some progress, and I’m really happy to be P1.”

Neil Hudson / TouringCarTimes

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