Nurburgring WTCR: Bjork takes pole as Hyundai dominates

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Nurburgring WTCR: Bjork takes pole as Hyundai dominates
By: Jack Cozens
May 10, 2018, 2:50 PM

Thed Bjork edged teammate Yvan Muller to score pole position for Thursday's opening World Touring Car Cup race at the Nurburgring Nordschleife, leading a Hyundai one-two-three in qualifying.

Bjork, the 2017 WTCC champion, set a fastest time of 8m58.700s in his YMR Hyundai to secure top spot by 0.079 seconds from Muller, handing the Swede his second pole of the season.

That compares to the fastest qualifying lap of 8m35.541s recorded during the WTCC's TC1 era by Citroen driver Jose Maria Lopez, although Bjork's effort was comfortably the fastest qualifying time set by a TCR car on the 15.77-mile circuit incorporating the grand prix loop.

Norbert Michelisz completed the top three in his BRC Racing Hyundai at the end of the session - although the Hungarian had set the session's fastest first sector on his second flying lap, only to abandon that run after going off in the second sector.

Esteban Guerrieri was the only other driver to get within a second of Bjork's time, hauling his Munnich Motorsport Honda up to fourth after the chequered flag had been shown.

Rob Huff secured fifth in his Sebastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen, setting the fastest fourth sector of all, while wildcard entrant Rene Rast was the leading Audi representative in sixth in his WRT-run Audi.

The fourth Hyundai of Gabriele Tarquini salvaged seventh, qualifying two seconds away from Bjork's time, ahead of WRT regular Gordon Shedden and the two Boutsen Ginion Hondas of Tom Coronel and Benjamin Lessennes.

James Thompson was 26th in his Munnich Motorsport Honda, and slowest of all in his first qualifying session on the Nordschleife.

The Briton will start Thursday's opening race ahead of Zengo Motorsport's David Szabo, who did not take part in qualifying after crashing in the wet in first practice.

Qualifying results:

Pos.DriversCarTimeGap
1 SWE Thed Bjork Hyundai 8'58.700  
2 FRA Yvan Muller Hyundai 8'58.779 0.079
3 HUN Norbert Michelisz Hyundai 8'59.065 0.365
4 ARG Esteban Guerrieri Honda 8'59.654 0.954
5 GBR Rob Huff Volkswagen 8'59.909 1.209
6 GER Rene Rast Audi 9'00.471 1.771
7 ITA Gabriele Tarquini Hyundai 9'00.728 2.028
8 GBR Gordon Shedden Audi 9'01.235 2.535
9 HOL Tom Coronel Honda 9'02.153 3.453
10 BEL Benjamin Lessennes Honda 9'02.228 3.528
11 FRA Yann Ehrlacher Honda 9'02.689 3.989
12 FRA Jean Karl Vernay Audi 9'03.038 4.338
13 ESP Pepe Oriola Seat 9'04.103 5.403
14 SVK Mat'o Homola Peugeot 9'04.457 5.757
15 BEL Frederic Vervisch Audi 9'04.909 6.209
16 BEL Denis Dupont Audi 9'05.221 6.521
17 FRA Aurelien Panis Audi 9'05.732 7.032
18 FRA Aurelien Comte Peugeot 9'05.986 7.286
19 MAR Mehdi Bennani Volkswagen 9'06.192 7.492
20 FRA Nathanael Berthon Audi 9'06.319 7.619
21 SUI Kris Richard Honda 9'08.282 9.582
22 ITA Fabrizio Giovanardi Alfa Romeo 9'08.639 9.939
23 ITA Gianni Morbidelli Alfa Romeo 9'09.933 11.233
24 FRA John Filippi Seat 9'10.726 12.026
25 HUN Norbert Nagy Seat 9'10.821 12.121
26 GBR James Thompson Honda 9'13.428 14.728
27 HUN Zsolt Szabo Seat no time  
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About this article

Series WTCR
Event Nürburgring
Location Nürburgring
Drivers Thed Björk
Teams Yvan Muller Racing
Author Jack Cozens
Article type Qualifying report