Stefano Comini pips Morbidelli to Singapore pole position
A very close fight for pole position in Singapore resulted in new championship leader Stefano Comini taking pole position by as little as 0.016s from Honda rival Gianni Morbidelli, his first of the season, with another WestCoast Racing Civic TCR in third in the hands of Kevin Gleason.
SEAT had looked dominant in Q1, as newcomer Loris Hezemans pulled a surprise on the field by leading a Target Competition 1-2 ahead of Stefano Comini. Behind them was the entire Craft-Bamboo Lukoil squad, with Jordi Gené in third ahead of Sergey Afanasyev and Free Practice leader Pepe Oriola.
Gianni Morbidelli was only in sixth place ahead of Liqui Moly Team Engstler’s Mikhail Grachev in his Volksagen Golf and Lorenzo Veglia in the team’s SEAT León. Kevin Gleason and René Munnich completed the top ten, with Fernando Monje eleventh in his Campos Racing Opel Astra OPC and Tomas Engstrom the final driver who gained access to Q2.
In the TCR Asia Series George Chou took pole for Roadstar Racing, finishing 13th outright and not too far from the top twelve.
As the battle for pole position began in the second segment of qualifying things changed quite a bit. While Stefano Comini had been in the hunt for pole position the whole day, Morbidelli almost pulled a surprise on him by missing the top spot by a blink of an eye, with Gleason in third. The Swiss only made one attempt as he focused on saving tyres for the races, but his Italian rival came close to ruining his strategy. Afanasyev came fourth ahead of former championship leader Pepe Oriola, his lap ruined by traffic, with Q1 leader Loris Hezemans slipping down to sixth.
Mikhail Grachev was once again sixth ahead of team-mate Lorenzo Veglia, with a struggling Jordi Gené in ninth, also lamenting traffic issues, ahead of Tomas Engström, who overcame his Q1 difficulties to claim pole position for Race 2. René Münnich and Fernando Monje finshed outside the top ten, and will therefore not benefit from the reversed grid.
With four points gained on his rival today, Stefano Comini is now back in the lead by two points ahead of title rival Pepe Oriola.
Race 1 starts at 22.25 local time.