Portugal WTCR: Huff grabs pole in red-flagged qualifying

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Portugal WTCR: Huff grabs pole in red-flagged qualifying
By: Jack Cozens
Jun 23, 2018, 1:10 PM

Rob Huff secured his second pole position of the 2018 World Touring Car Cup season in a heavily-interrupted first qualifying session in Vila Real, heading a Sebastien Loeb Racing 1-2.

In-between four red flag stoppages, Huff recorded a best time of 2m00.924s to beat teammate Mehdi Bennani to pole by 0.027 seconds.

Huff had been quickest after the first two red flags with a best time of 2m01s in his SLR Volkswagen, but was able to shave a further seven hundredths off his time with a fastest second sector of all.

The Briton then went quicker still at the start of his first flying lap after a third red flag period had ended with the fastest time of all in the first sector, but was prevented an opportunity to improve when Jean-Karl Vernay put his WRT Audi in the wall.

Officials finally declared the session would not restart after that incident, with two minutes left on the clock.

Norbert Michelisz was the fastest Hyundai driver and will start Saturday's first race from third in his BRC Hyundai, ahead of championship leader Yann Ehrlacher (Munnich Motorsport Honda).

Ehrlacher had one of his earlier efforts removed for improving fractionally after the second red flag had been shown, but improved later on to dislodge practice pacesetter Thed Bjork from fourth.

Bjork was the first driver to set a representative time in the session, but ended up qualifying more than half a second slower than he had gone in practice in his YMR Hyundai.

The 2017 World Touring Car champion will share the third row with teammate Yvan Muller, who hit the barrier exiting the second chicane just before the session's first red flag.

John Filippi was seventh in his Campos Racing Seat ahead of Ehrlacher's Munnich teammate Esteban Guerrieri, Gabriele Tarquini (BRC Hyundai) and Vernay.

Gianni Morbidelli caused the second red flag when he hit the barrier exiting the second chicane in his Alfa Romeo Giulietta and will start 24th.

Wildcard entrants Edgar Florindo and Jose Rodrigues will start from 26th and 27th respectively, the latter failing to set a time in his older-generation Honda.

Qualifying results:

Pos.DriverCarTimeGap
1 GBR Rob Huff Volkswagen 2'00.924  
2 MAR Mehdi Bennani Volkswagen 2'00.951 0.027
3 HUN Norbert Michelisz Hyundai 2'01.280 0.356
4 FRA Yann Ehrlacher Honda 2'01.445 0.521
5 SWE Thed Bjork Hyundai 2'01.683 0.759
6 FRA Yvan Muller Hyundai 2'01.765 0.841
7 FRA John Filippi Seat 2'02.075 1.151
8 ARG Esteban Guerrieri Honda 2'02.109 1.185
9 ITA Gabriele Tarquini Hyundai 2'02.168 1.244
10 FRA Jean-Karl Vernay Audi 2'02.357 1.433
11 GBR James Thompson Honda 2'02.540 1.616
12 HUN Zsolt Szabo Seat 2'02.592 1.668
13 ESP Pepe Oriola Seat 2'02.742 1.818
14 BEL Benjamin Lessennes Honda 2'02.882 1.958
15 FRA Aurelien Comte Peugeot 2'02.942 2.018
16 HOL Tom Coronel Honda 2'03.211 2.287
17 FRA Nathanael Berthon Audi 2'03.223 2.299
18 GBR Gordon Shedden Audi 2'03.333 2.409
19 BEL Frederic Vervisch Audi 2'03.390 2.466
20 ITA Fabrizio Giovanardi Alfa Romeo 2'03.412 2.488
21 FRA Aurelien Panis Audi 2'03.469 2.545
22 SVK Mat'o Homola Peugeot 2'03.479 2.555
23 HUN Norbert Nagy Seat 2'03.710 2.786
24 ITA Gianni Morbidelli Alfa Romeo 2'03.958 3.034
25 BEL Denis Dupont Audi 2'04.450 3.526
26 POR Edgar Florindo Seat 2'05.462 4.538
27 POR Jose Rodrigues Honda    
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