Who claims DHL Pole Position in Suzuka? Race of Japan Qualifying

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Who claims DHL Pole Position in Suzuka? Race of Japan Qualifying

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In doing so, the Volkswagen-powered Sébastien Loeb Racing driver denied Tiago Monteiro a second pole of the day at Honda’s home track, while Andy Priaulx emerged as the other star of the three-part session by topping Qualifying Q1 and Q2 before and error at the final corner dropped him back to fifth behind Mikel Azcona in third and fourth-placed Esteban Guerrieri.

Kristoffersson, the double FIA World Rallycross champion, judged the conditions perfectly, making a daring call to fit slick, dry-weather Yokohama tyres to the front of his Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR and wet-weather treaded Yokohamas to the rear to power his way to top spot on the 2.243-kilometre Suzuka Circuit East Course.

“It was very tricky conditions,” said Kristoffersson. “We tried some slick tyres in Q1 and left them on since then and tried to keep some temperature in them. It was nice to be able to have a free lap and string it together in the end.

Monteiro added: “It was very close. You’ve got to try everything, and I tried. I’ll just have to do a better start. We’re strong here, and I liked it in the dry. So far, it’s been a fantastic day.”

Priaulx leads the way, as Muller falls at the first hurdle
In the 20-minute Q1 session, the conditions were much improved from the day’s earlier First Qualifying, but times weren’t improving as much as might have been expected, and in the mixed conditions, it was Cyan Performance Lynk & Co driver Andy Priaulx who was revelling, with the triple-FIA World Touring Car champion leading the way with a time of 1m00.627s.

With just under five minutes to go, Team Mulsanne’s Kevin Ceccon bumped Sébastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen Motorsport driver Rob Huff out of the all-important top 12, but Huff was able to scrape back in at the expense of fellow Volkswagen driver Benjamin Leuchter, just as the red flags came out with eight seconds to go, when BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Racing Team driver Augusto Farfus slid off into the barriers, with the session not restarting.

Title contender Esteban Guerrieri was therefore safely through to Q2, with the ALL-INKL Münnich Motorsport Honda driver having set the second fastest time, while WTCR / OSCARO points leader Norbert Michelisz was also through in his BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse i30 N TCR. But it was another tough qualifying for Cyan Racing Lynk & Co driver Yvan Muller.

The Frenchman’s 03 TCR had been repaired by his Swedish team following his high-impact accident in First Qualifying, but without the chance to set his final lap, the four-time champion is set to start P17 for Sunday’s races.