4-time World Touring Automobile Champion Muller proved quickest within the opening Q1 session in Russia, left it late to set a time in Q2 to succeed in Q3 after which topped the shootout in tough rain-affected circumstances that left drivers second-guessing on tyre alternative.
Full-wet Goodyears all spherical ended up being the only option, which nearly caught Muller out in Q2 when he made his first run with slicks on the entrance and treaded tyres on the rear. However a fast change by his Cyan Racing Lynk & Co workforce allowed him to make the lower and arrange his run to pole place.
“It was a giant lap,” mentioned a delighted Muller forward of the ultimate two races of the 12 months.
“A tremendous qualifying. I used to be fast in Q1, by my first effort in Q2 was not ok and I needed to are available to vary tyres and simply make it into Q3.
“We made a set-up change and did lap, so nicely accomplished to the boys.”
Spaniard Mikel Azcona was subsequent to run after Muller in Q3 and regarded set to threaten his benchmark, however fell brief by 0.348s to go second.
Munnich Motorsport Honda driver Nestor Girolami was third, forward of Comtoyou Audi’s Nathanael Berthon.
Prime 3 after Qualifying, Mikel Azcona, Yvan Muller and Néstor Girolami
Photograph by: WTCR
Ehrlacher certified quickest in Q2, then selected to run first in Q3 as additional rain threatened however by no means materialised. His conservative lap left him fifth, however nonetheless glad together with his day’s work as he added a degree to his benefit over closest rival Frederic Vervisch, who may solely qualify his Audi ninth.
Ehrlacher now leads the Belgian by 37 factors forward of the 2 races on Sunday.
“It began raining after Q2 after I had accomplished a mega lap that didn’t rely for factors,” mentioned the reigning champion, concerning his resolution to run first within the shootout.
“The principle factor was moving into Q3. Now we’re nicely positioned, to not win however to attain good factors in each races. We’ve got to be spot on tomorrow.”
Vervisch will not less than begin the partially reversed-grid race one from the entrance row alongside team-mate and countryman Gilles Magnus, who banked a late lap in Q2 to qualify tenth and safe pole place for the opener.
Away from the title battle, there was disappointment for Gabriele Tarquini in his remaining WTCR look earlier than his retirement. The 59-year-old did not progress past Q1 and was solely sixteenth quickest in his BRC Hyundai Elantra N TCR.
“It was not the qualification I wished to do for my final one,” mentioned the 2018 champion.
“I attempted to do my finest, however in these circumstances I used to be not quick. With the compensation weight now we have we’re struggling, however I can do higher than this. I used to be far-off from Q2.”