QUALIFYING REPORT: FIA WTCC JVCKENWOOD Race of Macau Suncity Group Macau Guia Race
16-19 November 2017, FIA World Touring Car Championship, Rounds 17 and 18 of 20
*Privateer secures sixth Guia Race top spot with thrilling charge
*Michelisz outpaces title rival Björk to close on championship summit
*Bennani secures Opening Race pole despite crash
Rob Huff has claimed a sensational provisional DHL pole position at WTCC JVCKENWOOD Race of Macau with a new lap record of the famous Guia street circuit in his ALL-INKL.com Münnich Motorsport Citroën C-Elysée.
Briton Huff ran last in the top-five qualifying shootout and recorded a fastest lap of 2m23.995s, beating José María López's previous best time of 2m24.294s by three tenths of a second.
“It was awesome, I’d been saving a little bit but that was the most dare-devil lap I’ve ever done here,” said Huff. “I thought I was going to crash at every corner, it was mad with some huge saves. I’m very happy.”
Norbert Michelisz was the man deposed by Huff's fastest time, the Hungarian title contender instead settling for second in his Honda Civic WTCC but cutting Thed Björk's championship lead to 14.5 points after the Swede had to make do with fourth place after he made it out of Q2 on last lap.
Tom Chilton claimed a fine third in his Sébastien Loeb Racing Citroën C-Elysée, beating Björk, the leading Volvo Polestar driver and best rookie, and Michelisz's Castrol Honda World Touring Car Team stablemate Esteban Guerrieri.
A WTCC career-best sixth was Kevin Gleason's reward for steering clear of the barriers around the 6.120-kilometre track, the American out-qualifying the third factory Honda Civic WTCC of Ryo Michigami and Tom Coronel.
John Filippi was classified ninth in the second part of qualifying but did not record a flying lap after clouting the wall on the exit of the final corner, while Néstor Girolami and Mehdi Bennani were both caught up at Police Bend and also failed to set meaningful times. Girolami had earlier received a grid penalty for an engine change following a troubled Free Practice 2.
The third Volvo of Nicky Catsburg set the early pace in the first part of qualifying but his fortune unravelled thereafter as he hit a wall exiting Fishermen's bend near the end of the lap. The Dutchman was not allowed to take part in Q2 after his car was recovered to the pits. Yann Ehrlacher missed out on the second part of qualifying and will start Sunday's Main Race from P13 ahead of Zengő Motorsport pair Zsolt Dávid Szabó and Dániel Nagy, with Macau’s Mak Ka Lok next up.
Returning two-time race winner Ma Qing Hua crashed on his first flying lap, while WTCC debutant Po Wah Wong also hit a wall in his Campos Racing entry.
Saturday’s eight-lap Opening Race is due at 14h15 local time with the Main Race on Sunday from 10h45 over 11 laps. Click here for provisional results and more information.