Photo: TCR Media

Mat’o Homola takes Estoril pole position

Mat’o Homola took pole position for the first race at Estoril, Portugal. The B3 Racing driver finished ahead of WestCoast Racing’s Gianni Morbidelli, with the Honda driver just ahead of Jean-Karl Vernay’s Volkswagen Golf Gti TCR.

The first segment of qualifying started with a mistake out of Turn 3 for Dusan Borkovic, with the Serbian crashing his B3 Racing SEAT into the wall and triggering a red flag. The session restarted after the car was removed, with Pepe Oriola soon taking the lead for Craft-Bamboo Lukoil.

The championship leader finished the session first ahead of Vernay, with Homola third ahead of Morbidelli. Despite trying her best with a series of fast laps, Michela Cerruti was not able to go further than 15th in her Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR, with Luca Rangoni just behind in his Subaru WRX STi TCR. Mikhail Grachev and Francisco Mora were also out after the first segment of qualifying, with Borkovic finishing last, where he will start both races.

The second segment saw Homola immediately clocking a very strong 1:48.518, which was not to be beaten. Gianni Morbidelli was initially third behind WestCoast Racing team-mate Aku Pellinen, but the Italian improved on his second lap to go up to second. Vernay went up to third towards the end of the session, demoting Leopard Racing team-mate Stefano Comini, who finished fourth.

Sergey Afanasyev came fifth in the best-placed Craft-Bamboo Lukoil SEAT, with Pellinen sixth ahead of team-mate Kevin Gleason. James Nash finished eighth, with championship leader Pepe Oriola in ninth after losing a lap time due to a track limits infringement. The Spaniard will line up on the front row in Race 2 alongside pole sitter Loris Hezemans. Attila Tassi finished eleventh in the B3 Racing SEAT, with Davit Kajaia in 12th.