Zandvoort WTCR: Vernay scores Audi's first pole

WRT Audi driver Jean-Karl Vernay grabbed pole for the final World Touring Car Cup race at Zandvoort, beating Rob Huff to the fastest time in shootout qualifying.

Zandvoort WTCR: Vernay scores Audi's first pole

Vernay was the only driver to dip under the 1m44s mark in Monday's qualifying on his sole shootout run, which proved enough to secure pole by a comfortable margin of almost half a second.

The 2017 TCR International Series champion, who will start Monday morning's reversed-grid race from the back of the grid after an engine change, was one of three Audi drivers to make the final part of qualifying.

Running third, Vernay smashed the previous best shootout effort from teammate Gordon Shedden with his lap of the 2.67-mile circuit by almost six tenths of a second, finding half of that advantage in sector one.

Vernay was then guaranteed his first WTCR pole when Q2 pacesetter Frederic Vervisch (Comtoyou Audi) pulled up in the first sector on his shootout lap.

Rob Huff had been second fastest in the second part of qualifying in his Sebastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen, but a moment of oversteer at the Turn 3 Hugenholtz on his shootout lap cost him the best part of half a second.

The Briton was at least able to salvage a place on the front row of the grid, with a fastest second sector of all helping him to pip the second WRT Audi of Shedden - who will start from third for a second day in a row.

Having attempted his qualifying lap, Vervisch will start the finale from fourth ahead of the leading Honda of Esteban Guerrieri.

Munnich Motorsport driver Guerrieri stepped from his Honda before the start of his shootout run and did not attempt a lap.

He will therefore start the final race from fifth, one place ahead of team-mate and race one winner Yann Ehrlacher - who was the fastest driver to miss the Q3 shootout cut. 

The 21-year-old had moved up to fourth with his final lap in Q2, going 0.018 seconds slower than Guerrieri, but further improvements from Huff and Vernay pushed Ehrlacher out.

He will start the final race from sixth ahead of Huff's SLR teammate Mehdi Bennani and the Campos Racing Cupra of Pepe Oriola.

James Thompson left it late to set a time in the second part of qualifying, but his final effort was good enough to elevate him to 10th in the order - giving him pole for the reversed-grid race in his Munnich Motorsport Honda.

Race one runner-up Aurelien Comte will share the front row in that race with Thompson in his DG Sport Peugeot 308TCR.

The Hyundai drivers struggled for pace once again, with all four failing to advance to the second part of qualifying.

Yvan Muller - whose car was rebuilt overnight after his race one shunt with Norbert Michelisz - was the fastest of the Korea manufacturer's drivers in 18th, but he still ended up the best part of half a second away from a Q2 spot.

The four-time World Touring Car champion's YMR teammate Thed Bjork was a place further behind, with Michelisz 20th and Gabriele Tarquini 22nd.

Home favourite Tom Coronel was 24th - having qualified eighth a day earlier - ahead of wildcard Prince Bernhard van Oranje (Bas Koeten Racing Audi).

Qualifying Results:

1 FRA Jean-Karl Vernay Audi 1'44.491  
2 GBR Rob Huff Volkswagen 1'44.509 0.018
3 BEL Frederic Vervisch Audi 1'44.537 0.046
4 FRA Yann Ehrlacher Honda 1'44.595 0.104
5 ARG Esteban Guerrieri Honda 1'44.664 0.173
6 GBR Gordon Shedden Audi 1'44.763 0.272
7 ESP Pepe Oriola Seat 1'44.769 0.278
8 MAR Mehdi Bennani Volkswagen 1'44.804 0.313
9 FRA John Filippi Seat 1'44.897 0.406
10 FRA Aurelien Panis Audi 1'45.002 0.511
11 GBR James Thompson Honda 1'45.022 0.531
12 FRA Aurélien Comte Peugeot 1'45.078 0.587
13 BEL Denis Dupont Audi 1'45.206 0.715
14 BEL Benjamin Lessennes Honda 1'45.257 0.766
15 FRA Nathanaël Berthon Audi 1'45.303 0.812
16 ITA Fabrizio Giovanardi Alfa Romeo 1'45.348 0.857
17 ITA Gianni Morbidelli Alfa Romeo 1'45.511 1.020
18 FRA Yvan Muller Hyundai 1'45.522 1.031
19 SWE Thed Björk Hyundai 1'45.640 1.149
20 HUN Norbert Michelisz Hyundai 1'45.758 1.267
21 SVK Mato Homola Peugeot 1'45.774 1.283
22 ITA Gabriele Tarquini Hyundai 1'45.932 1.441
23 HUN Norbert Nagy Seat 1'45.970 1.479
24 HOL Tom Coronel Honda 1'46.001 1.510
25 HOL Bernhard van Oranje-Nassau Audi 1'46.179 1.688
26 HUN Zsolt David Szabo Seat 1'46.232 1.741
27 HOL Michael Verhagen Audi 1'46.268 1.777
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