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May 04, 2014 - 06:20 AM
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WTCC - Hungaroring - Qualifying
Posted by: newsla on May 04, 2014 - 06:13 AM
Sports Cars
WTCC - Hungaroring - Qualifying


Yvan Muller picked up his fourth consecutive pole position at the Hungaroring today. The Citroën driver remains unbea ten in qualifying at the Hungarian circuit.

 

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- The three Citroën C-Elysée WTCCs claimed the top three spots, with José-María López in second and Sébastien Loeb third.

- It was clear from the day’s various practice and qualifying sessions that the gaps in performance levels between teams have narrowed significantly, due to the compensation weight system applied from this meeting onwards.

In bright spring sunshine, Friday’s free practice session gave the Citroën drivers a chance to test out different solutions on the most winding circuit of the season. The C-Elysée WTCCs stayed exactly as they were in the two previous meetings, while the other TC1 cars had 60 kg of weight removed, under the FIA’s new performance compensation rules.

After storms overnight, the track was still a little damp when the competitors came out on Saturday morning for their second session of free practice. Towards the end of the session, José-María López put on a fresh set of tyres and became the first driver to dip under the 1 minute 50 mark. The Argentine’s time of 1’49”494 put him over a second ahead of Yvan Muller. As the morning drew to a close, it was the turn of Yvan Muller and Sébastien Loeb to change their tyres. The two men from Alsace were the two fastest in the second session, clocking times of 1’49’’301 and 1’49’’674 respectively.

The sky had brightened a little by the time the drivers returned to the track, in front of an already sizeable crowd, for their first 20-minute qualifying session. All three Citroën C-Elysée WTCCs clocked times under 1’50’’ on their very first run. Q2 was much more closely contested, with the top five drivers all within three tenths of a second of each other. Gabriele Tarquini was the quickest, ahead of José-María López, Tiago Monteiro, Yvan Muller and Sébastien Loeb.

In Q3, however, Yvan Muller reigned supreme. On the attack almost throughout his single flying lap, the four-time World Champion broke the 1’49’’ barrier (1’48’’727). José-María López also produced a faultless performance, but had to settle for second place. And with just 53 thousandths of a second in it, Sébastien Loeb snatched third place from Tiago Monteiro!

WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY

Yves Matton: “From the beginning of the weekend, we realised that the compensation weight had made it a whole new ball game. Q2 was particularly closely-fought, right up to the last second, when Gabriele Tarquini grabbed the best time. Our drivers were the difference in Q3, particularly Yvan and José, who used their experience to push their cars to the limit during their laps. Just behind his teammates, Seb still has to work on reducing his safety margin in this exercise. In any case, it’s a great overall result for the Citroën Total team.”

Yvan Muller: “It’s always difficult to produce a perfect lap here. The circuit is long, with lots of twists and turns, and you have to choose whether to attack at the start or at the end. This time, the first two sectors were where I made the difference. The third sector wasn’t great, but it was enough to claim pole position. It was a good battle, and I’m delighted to have come out on top. We have seen today, especially in Q2, that our rivals have closed the gap. So it looks like there could be some interesting races in store tomorrow!”

José-María López: “I knew that it would be tight and I attacked as hard as I could in Q3. I didn’t make any mistakes, but I was less good in the first sector than my teammates. I have to say that I was impressed by Yvan’s performance. He put in a fantastic lap and really deserves his pole position. I’m happy with my second place.”

Sébastien Loeb: “This qualifying session was the closest of the season so far, so it’s pleasing to have finished third. My Q3 lap was good, despite some minor errors in the last sector. But I’ve been a few tenths of a second adrift of Yvan and Pechito all weekend, and that trend continued.”

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