Esteban Guerrieri completes Saturday sweep with double pole in Hungary
Esteban Guerrieri remained the man to beat on Saturday at the Hungaroring after securing a double pole in qualifying for the latest rounds of the FIA World Touring Car Cup season.
With conditions still far from ideal, Guerrieri showed his hand immediately to go straight into the 2:05s bracket on his first flying lap of Q1 having earlier paced both free practice sessions in the Honda Civic Type R.
That put the Argentine four tenths of a second quicker than Yann Ehrlacher in the Lynk & Co, with Mikel Azcona slotting into third in his Cupra.
Attila Tassi held fourth ahead of Santiago Urrutia and Yvan Muller once the opening runs were complete, but Tom Coronel – second in the standings going into the weekend – was again struggling for pace in the Audi and found himself way down in 17th spot.
A strong lap from Tiago Monteiro moved him to fourth on the times – albeit with an engine penalty meaning he would start race one from the back of the grid regardless – with the field then heading out for one final run to determine who would secure pole for race one, and who would make it through to Q2.
As the clock ticked down to zero, Guerrieri improved his time to wrap up pole for race one and the five championship points that go with it, with Azcona improving his time to move ahead of Ehrlacher into second.
The Frenchman also managed to improve on his final flying lap of Q1 but could only match Azcona’s time – meaning he had to settle for third on the grid.
Monteiro was fourth quickest before his penalty ahead of Tassi and Muller, with Néstor Girolami, Santiago Urrutia, Jean-Karl Vernay, Nathanael Berthon, Gilles Magnus and Bence Boldizs making it through to the second phase of qualifying.
A slide on his final lap ensured that Coronel’s miserable session ended with him down in 18th spot and he wasn’t the only one in the wars, with Gabriele Tarquini only managing 14th ahead of Thed Björk and defending champion Norbert Michelisz.
Q2 saw Azcona fire the Cupra to the top of the times on his first run as he dipped below Guerrieri’s fastest lap in the first sector of the session to set up a fascinating battle for the race three pole as both drivers comfortably cemented their place in the five man shootout.
They would be joined in Q3 by Tassi, Girolami and Monteiro, with Muller securing pole for the second race having posted the tenth best time – with points leader Ehrlacher alongside him on the front row.
Azcona took the decision to go out first in the final stage of the session and was waved out to start his run only to grind to a halt at the exit of the pits.
The Spaniard would finally get the Cupra moving as Tassi headed out second to make his bid for pole – with the Honda driver becoming the first man to chase a time as Azcona returned to the pits.
Tassi posted a 2:06.267 time on his flyer – slightly slower than his weekend best – with Monteiro heading out third. Half a second down in the first sector, Monteiro also lost time in sector two and would end up six tenths of a second off, with Girolami then going out fourth.
A fine opening sector saw him go ahead of Tassi but he then lost it all when he ran wide at turn five and would end up going third fastest, with Guerrieri then taking his turn to try and secure his second pole of the weekend.
Guerrieri duly went quicker than Tassi by half a second to take his place at the front of the grid and picked up another five points towards his championship total – securing a maximum of ten points before racing even gets underway.
Race one is scheduled for 9:15 CEST on Sunday morning.