Yvan Muller takes pole position in Budapest

Citroën Total WTCC’s Yvan Muller has taken pole position at the Hungaroring, outpacing team-mate José María López by just 34 thousandths of a second in the single-lap shootout, and breaking his own personal qualifying lap record by almost five seconds.

The three Citroëns went out and set the three fastest times right at the start of the session, with José María López fastest ahead of Yvan Muller and Sébastien Loeb, and then returned to the pits aware they were safely through to Q2.

During the final ten minutes, Zengõ Motorsport’s Norbert Michelisz broke the Citroën trio and went third fastest, with ROAL Motorsport driver Tom Chilton setting a late improvement to go fifth and be the quickest of the Chevrolets in the first segment of qualifying.

In the final moments, LADA Sport Lukoil’s Rob Huff found himself 12th and under threat to drop out at the first part of qualifying.

The 2012 champion was unable to improve on his final run and only had to worry about the two Chevrolets of René Münnich and Hugo Valente. Münnich had set a good first sector, but dropped off further around the lap and was unable to improve, unfortunately for Huff, Valente was able to get into the top ten, knocking Huff into the drop zone along with his other two Lada team-mates and René Münnich’s Chevrolet.

The four TC2T cars propped up the back of the time sheets, with Liqui Moly Team Engstler driver Pasquale Di Sabatino taking the class pole for the first time ahead of team-mate Franz Engstler.

In Q2, Citroën repeated their one lap runs, with López again the quickest ahead of Yvan Muller and Sébastien Loeb. Norbert Michelisz developed a steering issue and went wide at Turn 5, and was unable to set a timed lap, which meant the Hungarian qualified 12th at his home race for both of tomorrow’s races.

Campos Racing’s Hugo Valente and Honda’s Gabriele Tarquini were now the last drivers that needed to get out of the bottom position, but it was Tarquini who escaped, going fastest of all in S2, while Valente made an error and ended up 11th. Team-mate Dusan Borkovic claimed the tenth spot and will start from pole for race two, provisionally.

In the final single-lap shootouts, Loeb set the first target, which Tiago Monteiro came close to by just 0.053. Yvan Muller then set the best time of 1:48.727, which López was unable to beat, and it was left to Gabriele Tarquini in the Honda, who made a mistake on his run and ultimately qualfied fifth, two seconds off the pace.

The first race takes place at 13:35 CET on Sunday.