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WTCC - Salzburgring - Qualifying
Posted by: newsla on May 25, 2014 - 05:04 AM
Sports Cars
WTCC - Salzburgring - Qualifying

The fastest qualifying time in the history of FIA WTCC was recorded today at the Salzburgring, at an average speed of over 185 kph.


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- Having clocked the best overall time in Q2, Yvan Muller was promoted to pole position for race 1 after Gianni Mordibelli was handed a penalty.

- The other two Citroën C-Elysée WTCCs, driven by Sébastien Loeb and José-María López, will start from second and fourth places on the grid.

After torrential rain in Slovakia, the weather in Austria was altogether more pleasant for the free practice and qualifying sessions at the Salzburgring. On Friday, the Citroën Total WTCC team drivers spent the first session completing some long runs, in an effort to check the resistance of their tyres in the long sequence of twists and turns at corners 9 and 10.

It was José-María López who clocked the best time in the first session, and again the next morning, with a time three seconds faster than that which won pole position in 2013. Performances improved further in the second session, when Sébastien Loeb took advantage of his fresh tyres to set a new benchmark.

As at the previous meetings, the three Citroën C-Elysée WTCCs were all in the running for pole. Despite López going into a colossal spin in the last few minutes, Q1 went off without major incident. The tension climbed up a notch in Q2, when the session was brought to a halt after Dusan Borkovic crashed off. The eleven competitors had only 6 minutes left to battle it out. Having been slightly off the pace up till then, Yvan Muller pulled off an impressive feat by completing a lap in 1’22’’085. With an average speed of 185.99 km/h, it was enough to secure the man from Alsace the best performance of the day.

In Q3, the Citroën drivers were outdone by Gianni Morbidelli. However, since the Italian had clocked his best time from Q1 while the yellow flags were up, he was demoted by five places on the grid for race 1. This meant Yvan Muller inherited pole position, while Sébastien Loeb was elevated to the front row. José-María López, meanwhile, will start from fourth spot.

As the penalty handed to Morbidelli did not cancel out his Q3 performance, he retained the 5 points he was initially awarded, while Muller, Loeb and López scored 4, 3 and 1 points respectively.


Yves Matton, Team Principal, Citroën Racing: “Since the Hungaroring, our Citroën C-Elysée WTCCs have been racing with 60kg more ballast than the other models. We have seen the competition get closer to us and we were beaten in Q3 after four successive pole positions. In light of the gaps and overtaking opportunities offered by this circuit, we can hope for races full of entertainment and suspense.”

Yvan Muller: “Well done to Gianni and his team for their performance. I managed to slipstream nicely in Q2, which was what enabled me to improve on my time in Q3. My last lap was perfect. There was probably a way I could have made up those 5 hundredths of a second, but I have no regrets. Free practice was quite tricky for me. We had some difficulty finding the optimal setup, which makes me all the happier to be in the position I am.”

Sébastien Loeb: “I think I put in a good lap in Q3. I attacked, but I was still a little bit too much on the defensive in the third sector. Corner 9 is very difficult. On every lap I wonder if I’ll be able to stay on the track. This has been the trickiest venue of the season for me so far.”

José-María López: “I lost confidence after spinning in Q1. Before that, everything had been going perfectly, but things weren’t the same afterwards. But that’s racing for you, and I’m still not far behind the others. I think there will be some good battles tomorrow. We’ll get a good night’s sleep and see how we go!”

1. Yvan Muller (Citroën C-Elysée WTCC) 1’22’’186
2. Sébastien Loeb (Citroën C-Elysée WTCC) 1’22’’363
3. Tom Coronel (Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1) 1’22’’432
4. José-María López (Citroën C-Elysée WTCC) 1’22’’507
5. Tom Chilton (Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1)
6. Gianni Morbidelli (Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1) 1’22’’137

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