WTCC - Catsburg Powerslides To Argentina Pole

16.07.17

WTCC - 2017 Race of Argentina - Qualifying session 

WTCC, Touring Car, Race of Argentina, FIA, Motorsport

QUALIFYING REPORT: FIA WTCC Race of Argentina, 14-16 July 2017
FIA World Touring Car Championship 2017, Rounds 11 and 12 of 20

*Dramatic charge earns Volvo Polestar man top spot in qualifying
*Title leader Monteiro boosts championship bid with P3 for Honda
*Home WTCC Trophy hero Guerrieri charges to Q3 shootout spot

Nicky Catsburg won a dramatic battle for the DHL Pole Position at FIA WTCC Race of Argentina this afternoon, crossing the timing beam as he took to the grass in a dramatic final-turn powerslide.

Driving a Volvo S60 Polestar, Catsburg was the last of five drivers to hunt down pole in the Qualifying Q3 shootout and gave it all to beat Norbert Michelisz (Honda Civic WTCC) by 0.184s in a thrilling conclusion to qualifying around the 4.806-kilometre Circuito Termas de Río Hondo.

It was the second top spot of the Dutchman’s WTCC career and makes him the fifth different racer to qualify at the front in 2017, such is the wide-open nature of this year’s World Touring Car Championship.

“The lap was definitely good,” said Catsburg, whose previous pole was in Russia last season. “The whole day went very well already in FP1 and FP2, noticing we were quite fast. We made small improvements to the car and the team did a really good job with that, which showed in qualifying although it wasn’t easy, not at all. The lap was close to being the fastest we could do. The last corner was spectacular to go onto the grass when we kept pushing, which made the difference and I’m very happy with pole position and the five points I get for the championship, which is very close.”

Michelisz said: “Second place was the maximum that was achievable today. The team has done a fantastic job to make the car excellent from the first lap of FP1, but we had a little issue with the brakes that meant we had to change the discs and pads between Q2 and Q3 and this maybe had an effect on the performance. Second is still a very good place to start from and gives me some very important bonus points for the championship.”

Tiago Monteiro took three bonus points for going third quickest, which extends his title advantage to six points over Thed Björk, who was fifth fastest, one place behind Argentine ace and leading WTCC Trophy contender Esteban Guerrieri.

Home hero Néstor Girolami, Mehdi Bennani, Tom Chilton, Ryo Michigami, Yann Ehrlacher, John Filippi and Tom Coronel all made it through to Q2 but the session ended at the Q1 phase for Rob Huff, Dániel Nagy, WTCC newcomer Zsolt Dávid Szabó and Kevin Gleason.

Huff’s early elimination was a shock with the former world champion blaming a lock-up – which flat-spotted his tyres ahead of his final run – for losing out. By finishing Q2 in P10, Ehrlacher will start Sunday’s Opening Race from the reverse-grid pole, a WTCC career first for the RC Motorsport driver, nephew of four-time world champion Yvan Muller.

WTCC Race of Argentina features two races on Sunday, the shorter Opening Race and the longer Main Race, which awards more championship points. The 11-lap Opening Race is scheduled to start at 15h00 local time with the Main Race, which takes place over 13 laps, from 16h15. In addition to extensive live global TV coverage the event will enjoy substantial live airtime on FOX Sports Latin America and free-to-air channels TVPA and Canal 12.