Norbert Michelisz led a BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse 1-2 in qualifying for the Kumho TCR World Tour season finale at Macau, with the Hungarian usurping both Yann Ehrlacher and Rob Huff with the points for pole to retake the lead in the standings ahead of the weekend’s two races.
BRC drivers Mikel Azcona and Michelisz topped the first qualifying session, with Ma Qing Hua the fastest of the Cyan Racing Lynk & Co cars in third ahead of Huff’s Audi.
There was an exciting battle to make it into Q2 between guest stars John Filippi and Ben Bargwanna, and Hong Kong driver Lo Sze Ho. Filippi made a late improvement to go up into tenth to knock Bargwanna’s Peugeot out of the top twelve, before Bargwanna bounced back, launching himself up to 11th and knocking Lo out of Q2.
In Q2, Michelisz set down a time of 2:28.504 to go fastest on his first run ahead of Néstor Girolami’s Honda and Huff’s Audi, before the session was red-flagged when Marco Butti crashed his Hyundai Elantra out at Donna Maria.
When the session resumed, the lead group improved on their times. Ehrlacher briefly took provisional pole, before Azcona then Michelisz jumped back ahead of him, with the latter breaking into the 2:27s, setting an all-time TCR record at Macau of 2:27.966.
Girolami and the MacPro Racing Team didn’t go back out on track for a final run due to electrical issue, but still managed to qualify fourth, while Huff would qualify in fifth position, although he reported concerns that he had been blocked on his final run; Azcona is under investigation for the incident.
Ehrlacher’s teammates Thed Björk and Santiago Urrutia qualified in ninth and tenth positions, securing the front row for the top-ten reversed grid for Sunday’s Race 2.
With 15 points for the pole, Michelisz has now taken a six-point lead in the standings ahead of Ehrlacher, with Huff ten points adrift.
Macau – Qualifying
Picture: Macau Grand Prix