Norbert Michelisz takes last gasp pole position in Vallelunga

Norbert Michelisz takes last gasp pole position in Vallelunga

20 April 2024

For the perfect start of his title defence, Norbert Michelisz grabbed pole position with a stunning final lap in a tense qualifying session at the Vallelunga circuit on the Kumho FIA TCR World Tour’s season opening. The BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse driver outpaced Lynk & Co Cyan Racing’s Yann Ehrlacher by just over two-tenths of a second.

The Hungarian snatched the pole from Ehrlacher just after the chequered flag waved. Although the Frenchman had been able to improve on his provisional fastest time from earlier in the session by a tenth of a second, it wasn’t enough to beat the reigning champion.

The full-time TCR World Tour drivers safely made it through to Q2, with Ehrlacher setting a last-minute flyer of 1:39.584 in his Lynk & Co, to go quickest and prevent GOAT Racing from ending with a Honda 1-2 in this part of the session; Esteban Guerrieri therefore was second and Marco Butti third.

Joining the full-time drivers in Q2 was Jacopo Cimenes in the MM Motorsport Honda Civic, who claimed pole position for the Coppa Italia Turismo in the process.

In Q2, Ehrlacher’s benchmark time of 1:39.525 set a very strong target after all drivers first laps. New Hyundai signing Néstor Girolami aborted his first run and ended up going out and fighting for a strategic pole position for the second race, achieving the tenth fastest time and securing the reversed grid pole.

Lining up behind Ehrlacher will be returning touring car star Guerrieri who set his best time on the second flying lap to ensure three different manufacturers in the top three spots on the grid, with Michelisz’s teammate Mikel Azcona in fourth position.

Volcano Motorsport Audi driver Sami Taoufik missed the top ten cut after having his first two lap times deleted due to track limit infringements, and a final run on older tyres was only good enough to place him 12th behind Cimenes. Taoufik’s teammate John Filippi was fastest of the Audi drivers in eighth, just ahead of Cyan Racing’s Santiago Urrutia who will share the front row of the grid for Race 2 with Girolami.

Michelisz’s pole was his second in a row, after being the fastest in Qualifying last November in Macau where he went on to secure the drivers’ title.

The first race is scheduled to take place at 17:15 CEST today (live streaming).


Norbert Michelisz: “I have to say target achieved because after last year it brought me luck to be on pole for the first event… I said to myself I would like to repeat that, but I was never sure before qualifying how we would be compared to the competition. But I did a very good lap without mistakes. The car was working great, and I am very happy that it was enough for pole. It doesn’t mean we will have the best car for the race because still the focus has to be on the afternoon to fine-tune the car. There is also a big question mark about the weather, as it might rain, so we will take it as it comes.”


Vallelunga - Qualifying

1:39.249 – Norbert Michelisz (BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse, Hyundai Elantra N)

1:39.496 – Yann Ehrlacher (Lynk & Co Cyan Racing, Lynk & Co 03)

1:39.586 – Esteban Guerrieri (GOAT Racing, Honda Civic Type R FL5)


Championship points

  1. N. Michelisz, 15 pts; 2. Y. Ehrlacher, 10; 3. E. Guerrieri, 8


Picture: WSC/Fastclick

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