WTCC: Pole positions for Michelisz and Catsburg at Motegi
After a long summer break, the FIA World Touring Car Championship season continued in Japan and Norbert Michelisz was the fastest in qualifying at Twin Ring Motegi. Honda driver won pole position for the first race on Sunday, while Lada driver Nick Catsburg won the reverse pole for race two.
After 20 minutes in the first qualifying round, reigning champion Jose Maria Lopez set the best lap time of 1:55.929, in front of another Citroen driver Ma Qing Hua, and Gabriele Tarquini in Honda. Out of second qualfying round stayed John Filippi, Stefano D’Aste, Tom Coronel. Gregoire Demoustier and Rob Huff.
Second round was a bit more interesting. it looked lke Lopez wanted to take 10th place and win reverse pole position for the second race on Sunday, but when he dropped to 11th, he had to go faster in the last lap, finishing fourth in the end. Norbert Michelisz was the fastest with a lap time of 1:55.711, beating Ma Qng Hua and Sebastien Loeb, while last driver who clinched last place to go into Q3 was Mehdi Bennani, for the first time this season.
Nick Catsburg won reverse pole position and could be very happy with that. Except Catsburg, out of final qualifying round stayed Gabriele Tarquini, Yvan Muller, Tiago Monteiro, Tom Chilton, Hugo Valente and Lada’s newcomer Nicolas Lapierre.
In the final round, Michelisz managed to repeat excellent driving to give Honda pole position for the first race on the home track with the new lap record time – 1;55,596. Pechito Lopez was second, 0.8s behind the Hungarian, leaving Loeb third, Bennani fourth and Hua fifth.