2021 WTCR Race of Spain – Qualifying Sessions
Frédéric Vervisch put a fantastic final charge in the WTCR Race of Spain qualifier – described by a ‘golden lap’ of his team – to bump Thed Björk from Race 2 pole position on a scorching hot MotorLand Aragón this afternoon.
Comtoyou Team Audi Sport The Audi RS 3 LMS driver was the last to run in the Q3 top-five shootout and did just enough to run Björk’s Cyan Performance Lynk & Co – with 0.021s.
“For me, it was a really good game,” Vervisch said. “We put it together at the right moment. It has been a difficult start to the season, but now we are back in the game. The Comtoyou guys have been non-stop. For the race it will be difficult, but we have the pace for pole, so we have the speed to win. We have the pace to score many points. ”
Problems for Tassi as King of WTCR Ehrlacher goes fastest
The initial 20-minute Q1 session was interrupted by a red flag after just five minutes when Attila Tassi – second in the WTCR scoring table who came into the weekend – was forced to stop out on the circuit with a technical problem on his ALL -INKL. DE Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR.
“We did not expect much from this weekend with the extra 70 kg [of compensation weight], ”Said Tassi, Race 2 winner at the previous WTCR Race in Portugal. “Suddenly my car just turned off. I tried to restart it but even the guys still do not know what the problem was. ”
Once the session resumed, a late stream of improvements shook the order as the checkered flag flew. Tom Coronel beat the Comtoyou Audi driver from the top before King of WTCR Yann Ehrlacher jumped to the top with a time of 2m06.441s, only 0.028s faster than the Dutchman.
Goodyear #FollowTheLeader Jean-Karl Vernay got right through to the 2nd quarter by setting a time good enough for P11, ahead of local hero Mikel Azcona, who also secured his graduation. Those who missed the cut outside the top 12 included Santiago Urrutia in P13 and second WTCR local hero Jordi Gené in his Zengő Motorsport Drivers’ Academy Cupra. Colleague CUPRA driver Rob Huff also missed it, as did the three remaining Hondas from Esteban Guerrieri (P16), Néstor Girolami (P20) and Tiago Monteiro (P21).
Michelisz fastest, but P10 delivers Tarquini reverse grid pole
In the 10-minute Q2 session, Norbert Michelisz qualified for the top five Q3 shootout with the fastest time in his Hyundai – a lap of 2m06.044s. Gilles Magnus was the last to cross the line and jumped from P12 to an excellent P2 ahead of Audi driver Vervisch. Vernay came through in fourth, while Thed Björk was another later improver to go fifth.
Nathanaël Berthon, fastest in the second free practice, just missed the cut in sixth ahead of Coronel, Ehrlacher and Azcona. The late improvements left Gabriele Tarquini in P10, meaning he will start the inverted lattice Race 1 from pole position
for the second WTCR weekend in a row. It was Magnus’ late shot that made the difference, pushing Yvan Muller down to P11 ahead of FIA WTCR Junior Driver Title rival Luca Engstler.
Ehrlacher said he was disappointed with the eighth fastest time, although that leaves him in second place for race 1. “It was not strategy at all,” said the Frenchman. “This track is really challenging and we do not have the favorite car. I drove with 130 percent, but sometimes you miss some corners. ”
Vervisch back in front with shootout best
Michelisz was the first to run in the Q3 shootout, setting a benchmark time of 2m06,380s. Magnus was next. The Belgian was faster than Michelisz in the first sector, but slower in the other three – yet it was still good enough to overthrow the Hyundai driver by just 0.026 seconds.
Vernay was the third of the five to go, but failed to beat the times for either Magnus and Michelisz. Now Björk lined up in his Lynk & Co. The Swede put in a fantastic lap to be the fastest in all except the last sector to jump to the top, 0.164 sec faster than Magnus.
Vervisch was the last of the five who completed his lap. The Belgian was not the fastest of all in any of the first three sectors – but put a big speed outburst in the fourth to take pole position and pushed Björk out of the top. It left the final order as Vervisch, Björk, Magnus, Michelisz and Vernay.
Björk was not so disappointed after such a competitive qualification. “I feel so good in the car,” he said. “It has been a tough start to the season. He hit me a bit. ”
Magnus said he was happy to be third, especially with his Audi driver Vervisch on the Race 2 pole. “Standing here is a positive thing,” he said. “It’s a track I like, we’ve had a lot of mileage here, and tomorrow I’ll have a good day.”
Michelisz said: “We have to be realistic. I got the best slipstream of my life in Q2, but this is where we are. We did not expect to beat Audis here. The goal tomorrow is to grab some points. ”
Vernay said: “It was a good session because today has been pretty tough for me. But in the end, I made a good qualification to be among the top five and score some more points. ”
Race 1 at the WTCR Race of Spain is scheduled for 11:15 local time on Sunday