WTCR – 2021 WTCR Race of Hungary – Qualifying report
Rob Huff scored a sensational first pole place of the season and on residence soil for Zengő Motorsport because the British driver and his staff set WTCR Race of Hungary alight in an exhilarating qualifying session on the Hungaroring this afternoon.
The 41-year-old put a troublesome begin to 2021 behind him after a 12 months out of the WTCR to beat Santiago Urrutia and residential hero Norbert Michelisz to the highest spot within the Q3 shootout and ship his Zengő Motorsport staff into rapture, whereas additionally claiming the primary WTCR pole for the Goodyear-equipped CUPRA Leon Competición.
“It’s been powerful, so first an enormous congratulations to the staff,” stated a delighted Huff. “They’ve labored so arduous to get on this place for his or her residence race. We’ve actually struggled this 12 months, it’s no secret. However I managed the lap of my life in Q2 to get into Q3 and to get this result’s simply incredible. It’s a dream come true for the staff.”
Earlier than the climax, Mikel Azcona set the tempo within the 20-minute Q1 session, with a time of 1m52.284s − under the qualifying lap document set by Michelisz in 2018. Gilles Magnus was second quickest from Santiago Urrutia who was a late improver and knocked the spectacular Huff right down to fourth. Néstor Girolami was subsequent, with Thed Björk leaping up with a late effort to sixth.
Native hero Michelisz solely simply made the reduce to progress to Q2 in P12 because the Hyundais struggled for efficiency on the Hungaroring. Amongst these to overlook out had been Tiago Monteiro, simply out of the bubble due to Björk’s late enchancment in P13. One other native hero Attila Tassi missed out in P14, as did Luca Engstler. However the largest shock was Goodyear #FollowTheLeader Jean-Karl Vernay, who might solely qualify in P16.
“We’re not the place we needed to be, within the high 10, as a result of Q2 was the goal,” stated the dissatisfied Frenchman. “We had a scarcity of enhancements. Norbi on residence soil is trying to obtain one thing nice, however we couldn’t. The automotive was nice, however it lacked efficiency. We’ve quite a lot of compensation weight, however we’re positively not the place we need to be.”
Andreas Bäckman additionally had a tough session in his Goal Competitors Hyundai. The Swede spun early on at Flip 2, then clipped the tyre stack on the chicane, inflicting a quick full course yellow to clear particles from the monitor. He ended up final, in P23, whereas team-mate and wildcard entry Nicola Baldan certified in P21, one place behind Bäckman’s sister Jessica.
Huff, Magnus shine in thrilling climax to Q2
The ten-minute Q2 session ended with an exhilarating previous couple of minutes as a variety of drivers banked huge enhancements and blended up the order. Huff sensationally ended up on high with a shocking new qualifying lap document of 1m51.528s. He completed forward of residence hero Michelisz − the one Hyundai to have progressed to Q2 − Björk, Girolami and Urrutia, all of whom graduated to the Q3 shootout.
These to overlook out included Azcona in an agonising sixth, with King of WTCR Ehrlacher in seventh, uncle Yvan Muller in eighth and Frédéric Vervisch in ninth. Gilles Magnus was in P10, which suggests the FIA WTCR Junior Driver Title contender and WTCR Trophy chief will begin on pole place for the partially reversed-grid Race 1.
Michelisz mighty in Q3 however Huff and Urrutia go even sooner
Michelisz was the primary to run within the one-at-a-time Q3 shootout, leaving the pitlane to enthusiastic cheers from the partisan residence crowd. The Hyundai ace and 2019 King of WTCR set a strong benchmark of 1m52.342s.
Huff was subsequent for his first look in Q3 this season. The British driver was up on Michelisz via sector one and that made the distinction to permit him to go quickest, a powerful 0.349s sooner than the Hyundai.
Now Björk took his flip in his Lynk & Co. The Swede didn’t have the tempo to threaten Huff and Michelisz, leaving him third thus far.
His Cyan Efficiency team-mate Urrutia was the penultimate driver to run, the Uruguayan giving his all. He ran large on the final nook, however nonetheless managed a time that left him second, 0.297s off Huff’s mark however ok to bump Michelisz down to 3rd.
Girolami was the final of the 5 to run. The Honda driver misplaced time within the first sector and ended up fourth, dropping Björk right down to fifth.
Michelisz was happy along with his efficiency, regardless of lacking out on pole place in entrance of his residence crowd. “I’m very comfortable and proud,” he stated. “We improved the automotive run by run and made a giant step from Q1 to Q2, elevating the bar each time. I’m unhappy for the staff as a result of we struggled right this moment and it’s been powerful usually. However I’m positive we are able to discover a resolution for tomorrow.”
The query posed to Huff was, can he flip his Race 2 pole place right into a victory on Sunday? “That’s the thought!” he stated. “Mission A has been achieved, now it’s time for Mission B.”
Race 1 at WTCR Race of Hungary is scheduled to start at 12h15 native time tomorrow (Sunday).