Mehdi Bennani claimed pole position for WTCR’s Race 1 at the Nürburgring, outqualifying his Comtoyou Racing Audi teammate Gilles Magnus by just 0.015 seconds, with the Audi duo demoting three of Cyan Racing’s Lynk & Co drivers right at the end of the session.
The session started in drying conditions, with everyone eventually opting for slick tyres after assessing a mix of tyres during the additional 15-minute practice session which took place before qualifying.
Points leader Néstor Girolami broke his front-splitter during this test, and his Münnich Motorsport team had to hurry to repair his Honda Civic so he could get out on track. Magnus set down the first competitive benchmark of 8:53.267i, before three of the Cyan Racing Lynk & Co cars jumped ahead, with Santiago Urrutia fastest from teammates Yann Ehrlacher and Thed Björk.
The Honda cars looked like they might take the fight to the Cyan Racing cars, but front-right puncture for Girolami in the final sector saw him lose time, with the team forced to make further repairs to his Civic. Attila Tassi also looked quick but suffered a rear-left puncture on the Döttinger Höhe straight and was unable to get back out. Girolami was able to get back out but could not improve, when Rob Huff’s CUPRA crashed out in sector three and the yellow flags were out.
Cyan Racing decided not to send its top three drivers out again, which allowed Comtoyou Racing to maximize, with Bennani and Magnus working together to slipstream down the final sector and launch into first and second, over a second clear of Urrutia’s Lynk & Co.
Yvan Muller qualified tenth on his final lap, despite also suffering a puncture on his first run, which puts the Frenchman on pole position for the reversed grid second race.
Race 1 is scheduled to start tomorrow at 10:00 (CEST).
Nürburgring – Qualifying
8:50.527 Mehdi Bennani (Comtoyou Racing, Audi RS 3 LMS II)
8:50.542 Gilles Magnus (Comtoyou Racing, Audi RS 3 LMS II)
8:51.637 Santiago Urrutia (Cyan Performance, Lynk & Co 03)
1. N. Girolami 49 pts; 2. M. Azcona 43; 3. E. Guerrieri 42
Picture: FIA WTCR/DPPI