Mat’o Homola takes Bahrain pole position, will start last due to penalty

DG Sport Compétition’s Mat’o Homola took pole position in qualifying in Bahrain. The Slovakian will however be demoted to the back of the grid due to having changed his engine yesterday, which leaves pole to team-mate Pierre-Yves Corthals, the first for Opel in the series. Hugo Valente will start second in the first race for Craft-Bamboo, with Roberto Colciago’s M1RA Honda Civic TCR completing the top three.

Drama already started in Qualifying 1, when defending champion Stefano Comini attempted to make a single-lap effort to get into the top twelve, but a slide and perhaps an insufficient pace in his Comtoyou Audi RS 3 LMS left him down in 13th, four-tenths shy of GE-Force’s Davit Kajaia, who finished 12th.

The Opel duo were however surprisingly quick, as Corthals led the way by going under the 2:12-barrier, with team-mate Homola just behind him. GE-Force’s Michela Cerruti ended up 14th, ahead of WestCoast Racing’s Giacomo Altoé and Duncan Ende.

In Qualifying 2, championship leader Kajaia initially set the pace, but he was soon demoted by the Opels, with Homola almost four-tenths quicker than Corthals. However, the Slovakian will start from the back of the grid due to an engine change penalty, while he’ll start tenth in the reversed grid Race 2. Valente and Colciago were close to Corthals, while Davit Kajaia will make a second-row start and collects another point in the championship.

A last-gasp improvement saw Jean-Karl Vernay jump up to sixth in his Team WRT Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR, while James Nash was seventh in the Craft-Bamboo SEAT ahead of M1RA’s Attila Tassi. Dusan Borkovic was ninth, and will start on the front row in the second race in the GE-Force Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR, alongside reversed-grid pole sitter Ferenc Ficza in his SEAT.

The last minute improvement pulled off by Vernay pushed Gianni Morbidelli outside the top ten, with the WestCoast Racing driver ending up 11th ahead of Craft-Bamboo SEAT’s Pepe Oriola.

The first race of the weekend will start today at 16:30 local time, 15:30 CET.