*French flyer quickest in opening qualifying session of eagerly anticipated 2020 season
*Top 3 separated by 0.041s at Zolder with Ehrlacher 2nd for Cyan Racing Lynk & Co
*FIA Rooke Award contender Magnus impresses on WTCR debut in third
Nathanaël Berthon snatched his first DHL Pole Station in the WTCR – FIA World Touring Automobile Cup with a wonderful lap in the terminate-5 shoot out, as actual 0.041s separated the terminate three in qualifying at WTCR Jog of Belgium.
The Frenchman used to be the closing to bustle in his Goodyear-equipped Comtoyou DHL Crew Audi Sport Audi RS 3 LMS and effect aside in a lap of 1m35.486s to knock Cyan Racing Lynk & Co’s Yann Ehrlacher from the terminate. Within the help of Ehrlacher, FIA Rookie Award contender Gilles Magnus impressed as he has all weekend at his residence circuit of Zolder to terminate up third for the RACB National Crew.
“We had a extremely upright pre-season and the fellows did a extremely upright job on the Audi,” stated a joyful Berthon. “This lap used to be honest quick, especially the closing sector. I knew I had to provide it all the pieces.”
Ehrlacher, whereas upset to fail to notice out on the DHL pole, used to be jubilant with his effort. “After this very lengthy time with out a racing I’m pretty jubilant to be on the front row and rating some qualifying components. I did a lap on the threshold, there used to be nothing left. It may perhaps perhaps perhaps had been demanding to search out extra and we’re going to fight once more the next day.”
Within the 20-minute Q1 session, Thed Björk and Magnus both had spells at the pinnacle of the cases, but Ehrlacher’s insensible effort pushed him support to the terminate with a lap of 1m35.827s. The terminate 12 progressed to Q2 and experienced WTCR aces Jean-Karl Vernay, King of WTCR Norbert Michelisz (BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse) and Néstor Girolami simplest actual made the decrease in P10, P11 and P12 respectively. Of us that left out out incorporated Australian newcomer Dylan O’Keefe, actual outside the bubble in P13 in his Vuković Motorsport Renault Mégane, Nicky Catsburg (Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing. Crew), 2018 title winner Gabriele Tarquini, FIA Rookie Award contender Jack Younger and Honda-powered Tiago Monteiro.
Catsburg stated he used to be no longer severely surprised to fail to notice out, with Michelisz the ideal Hyundai to development to Q2. “We weren’t waiting for to discover thru and from making an strive out we knew it may perhaps probably well even be a no longer easy weekend. It actual system we maintain now to work a piece extra important.”
A flurry of closing-lap enhancements shook up the order in the 10-minute Q2 session. As he had in the 2nd free rehearsal, Magnus worn his Zolder data to cleared the fling, a heroic lap of 1m35.480s knocking Santiago Urrutia from the terminate. The opposite three to development to the one-at-a-time Q3 shoot-out had been Ehrlacher, Yvan Muller and Berthon as the fifth quickest qualifier, with Tom Coronel actual lacking out in sixth.
The others to topple out at this stage had been Attila Tassi, Björk, Vernay and Argentine ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda team-mates Girolami and Guerrieri. Michelisz propped up the cases in P12. Geurrieri stated: “It’s no longer the finest birth as a lot as the weekend, but silent we’re going to fight.”
As the quickest qualifier, Magnus had the capture of the running order in Q3 – and selected to pass first. The 21-year-outdated, buoyed by self perception, pickle a heroic benchmark time of 1m35.527s.
Uruguayan Uruttia, making his WTCR debut, used to be next up in his Lynk & Co and effect aside in a spectacular effort, simplest to lose out in the closing sector to terminate up 0.353s slower than Magnus. Then Ehrlacher used to be the third to bustle in his Lynk & Co. What may perhaps the Frenchman enact? To the delight of his Cyan Racing team, his time effect aside him on high by actual 0.010s.
“Sector 2 and sector 3 had been end to suited,” stated Magnus, shaking his head, “to be capable to perceive Ehrlacher plod quickest by the type of margin is a puny bit frustrating. Nevertheless as it’s my first fine pole session, I’m jubilant.”
Muller used to be next and can simplest terminate up 0.552s down on his nephew who sat on the provisional DHL pole. Nevertheless Berthon used to be the closing to bustle – and had a remark lap up his sleeve. The Frenchman managed a 1m35.486s to high the list by actual 0.031s.
Jog 1 of WTCR Jog of Belgium takes pickle on Sunday morning at 10h30 local time.