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Leuchter claims shock WTCR Nurburgring Nordschleife final pole

Leuchter Huff SLR Volkswagen WTCR Nurburgring 2019

Sebastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen driver Benjamin Leuchter claimed a shock pole position for the final Nurburgring Nordschleife World Touring Car Cup race in a breathless end to second qualifying.

Leuchter beat the sister VW Golf GTI of Rob Huff to top spot with a fastest time of 9m51.327s, as conditions rapidly improved.

Although the entire field headed out on a full set of wets for their opening laps, most opted to switch to slick front tyres as track conditions improved.

Chief among those that stayed out for a second lap on wets were PWR Cupra driver Daniel Haglof and the Cyan Lynk & Co 03 of Yann Ehrlacher, who shot to the top of the order on their second laps.

But their sector times were quickly improved upon by those who had opted for slicks.

Leuchter and the BRC Racing Hyundai i30 N of Norbert Michelisz went fastest initially but were then split by Huff, before Johan Kristoffersson - who was some way further back on the track in his Golf - beating the previous best benchmark by 4.990 seconds.

Kristoffersson's effort was bettered by wildcard entrant Antti Buri, before Haglof crashed at Tiergarten before the run to the finish line while on course to improve with his final lap, an incident that prompted a 'Code 60' slow zone in the final sector.

But while that cost drivers more than 10 seconds, the amount of time cars were able to find over the rest of the lap meant improvements were still viable.

Norbert Michelisz BRC Hyundai Nurburgring WTCR 2019

Michelisz was the first to improve significantly, going fastest by 1.8s, before the VWs hit their stride.

Huff's 9m52.809s sent him fastest ahead of race one polesitter and championship leader Esteban Guerrieri (Munnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R), only for Leuchter - a Nordschleife expert - to beat that time by 1.482s.

Guerrieri ended up best of the rest behind the two VWs ahead of Michelisz, with the second BRC Hyundai of Gabriele Tarquini beating Mehdi Bennani (SLR VW) to fifth.

Frederic Vervisch was Audi's lead representative in seventh ahead of Attila Tassi, who had been fastest in his KCMG Civic before Michelisz's improvement, while Buri ended up ninth in his Audi RS3 LMS.

Kristoffersson failed to improve on his final lap and was 10th in the fourth of the VWs, ahead of Augusto Farfus and the Comtoyou Cupras of Aurelien Panis and Tom Coronel.

Yann Ehrlacher was the Cyan Racing Lynk & Co outfit's lead representative in 17th, with the sister cars of Andy Priaulx, Thed Bjork and Yvan Muller immediately behind him.

Second qualifying result

PosDriverTeamCarGap
1Benjamin LeuchterSLR VolkswagenVolkswagen9m51.327s
2Rob HuffSLR VW MotorsportVolkswagen1.482s
3Esteban GuerrieriMunnich MotorsportHonda1.897s
4Norbert MicheliszBRC Squadra CorseHyundai4.098s
5Gabriele TarquiniBRC Squadra CorseHyundai4.247s
6Mehdi BennaniSLR VW MotorsportVolkswagen5.697s
7Frederic VervischComtoyou AudiAudi5.845s
8Attila TassiKCMGHonda5.905s
9Antti BuriLMS RacingAudi5.964s
10Johan KristofferssonSLR VolkswagenVolkswagen6.170s
11Augusto FarfusBRC Racing TeamHyundai7.117s
12Aurelien PanisComtoyou CupraCupra8.087s
13Tom CoronelComtoyou CupraCupra9.449s
14Tiago MonteiroKCMGHonda10.500s
15Jean-Karl VernayWRTAudi11.214s
16Gordon SheddenWRTAudi11.230s
17Yann EhrlacherCyan PerformanceLynk & Co13.227s
18Andy PriaulxCyan PerformanceLynk & Co13.419s
19Thed BjorkCyan RacingLynk & Co14.188s
20Yvan MullerCyan RacingLynk & Co15.921s
21Kevin CecconTeam MulsanneAlfa Romeo17.671s
22Daniel HaglofPWR RacingCupra26.796s
-Nicky CatsburgBRC Racing TeamHyundai29.898s
-Nestor GirolamiMunnich MotorsportHonda33.941s
-Mikel AzconaPWR RacingCupra35.238s
-Niels LangeveldComtoyou AudiAudi35.769s
-Ma QinghuaTeam MulsanneAlfa Romeo47.801s

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