Photo: TCR Media

Gianni Morbidelli takes dominant Shanghai pole position

Gianni Moridelli dominated qualifying in Shanghai, China, to lead a WestCoast Racing 1-2-3. The Italian, the only driver to break the 2:16 barrier, will start ahead of team-mates René Munnich and Kevin Gleason.

Morbidelli took a clean sweep in qualifying by taking the first spot in Q1 as well, as the top three order remained the same in both segments.

Liqui Moly Team Engstler’s Mikhail Grachev pulled a big surprise on the field however, as the Russian put his Audi TT in fourth, just beating Pepe Oriola’s Craft-Bamboo Lukoil SEAT León by less than 0.03s, therefore giving Audi their best result to date in the series.

Hungarian teenager Norbert Tóth had a very positive first outing in his Zengo Motorsport SEAT, claiming sixth on the grid and emerging as the second fastest León in the session.

Franz Engstler will partner championship leader Stefano Comini in fourth row, the German lapping more than three tenths quicker than Target Competition’s driver. The Italian team also took the remaining top ten places, with Michel Nykjaer and Andrea Belicchi in the order. An all-Target Competition front row is therefore expected for the reversed grid Race 2.

Sergey Afanasyev and Jordi Gené missed a top 12 spot in Q1, meaning the two Craft-Bamboo Lukoil drivers will have to start both races from 13th and 14th respectively.

Morbidelli collects five points, which puts him up to third in the standings, one point ahead of Gené.

The TCR International Series will be back on track later today at 13.25 local time, right after the Formula One Free Practice 3, for the first race of the weekend.