WTCC Hungaroring: Huff takes first pole position of 2017
|By Jack Cozens||Saturday, May 13th 2017, 13:10 GMT|
Briton Rob Huff claimed pole for Sunday's main World Touring Car Championship race at the Hungaroring with an impressive lap in the final part of qualifying.
Munnich Motorsport driver Huff was the last driver to attempt his flying lap in the Q3 shootout session, but clocked fastest times in every sector in his privateer Citroen C-Elysee to record a fastest time of 1m48.264s.
That beat Mehdi Bennani's previous benchmark by 0.327 seconds, securing Huff a first WTCC pole since the championship's visit to Marrakech last year.
"Huge congratulations to this team," said Huff.
"The pressure is on when you're last to go and you hear the times go through; but the car was brilliant."
Bennani was handed a five-place penalty as a result of an incident with Norbert Michelisz at Monza a fortnight earlier but that will be applied to his starting position on the opening reversed-grid race, meaning the Moroccan keeps his front row start for the main race.
Esteban Guerrieri was a standout third in his Campos Racing Chevrolet Cruze, the Argentinian - who won the season opener in Marrakech - beating the factory Volvo S60s of Nicky Catsburg and Nestor Girolami in the final session.
The factory Honda Civics were the most notable absentees from Q3.
Home favourite Michelisz had set the pace in Saturday morning's second practice session in the wet, but both he and team-mate Tiago Monteiro - saddled with the maximum 80 kilograms of success ballast - fared worse in dry qualifying.
Michelisz ended up best-placed of all of them, qualifying sixth, with points leader Monteiro ninth and the third factory car of Ryo Michigami 12th.
Tom Chilton (SLR Citroen C-Elysee) and Monteiro's closest rival in the points, the third Volvo S60 of Thed Bjork, finished seventh and eighth in qualifying between the Honda pair.
10th-place qualifier John Filippi secured pole for Sunday's reversed-grid race.
With predictions of rain before qualifying proving wide of the mark, the closing minutes of first practice proved to be the most frantic of all as times tumbled.
While the frontrunners survived the rush, Tom Coronel was the biggest casualty in his ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet Cruze.
Coronel had recorded personal best times in sector one and sector two on his final flying lap but ended up 0.056s shy of a spot in Q2, complaining his car "doesn't feel proper" and had "a lot of understeer".
HONDA TAKES FIRST MAC3 WIN OF SEASON
Despite its relative struggles in qualifying, Honda was able to claim its first MAC3 victory of the season.
Michelisz completed a tidy two-lap run for the trio of Civics in a time of 3m46.594s despite a slow start for all three drivers.
Volvo's trio could not replicate that pace and fanned out over their second lap, with Girolami completing the run 3.807s down.