Magnificient Michelisz is the pole-setting king if the 'Ring

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Norbert Michelisz claimed the pole position at FIA WTCC Race of Germany on the Nurburgring Nordschleife this afternoon with a stunning last-gasp effort.

Honda driver Michelisz sat second in the times behind Nicky Catsburg before improving on his third and final effort, setting a best lap of 8m38.072s. That was six tenths of a second faster than Catsburg, who may also have been able to improve on his final lap in his Volvo Polestar only to back off in the last sector after detecting a problem on the front of the car.

Rob Huff, who set the pace after the first laps, took third in his ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Citroen – and first in the WTCC Trophy – getting ahead of Tiago Monteiro on his last lap, when the World Touring Car Championship leader was unable to improve after suffering a damper issue.

Thed Bjork was fifth in front of Tom Chilton and Tom Coronel, with Mehdi Bennani surviving an early off-track moment to claim eighth. Argentine Nordschleife rookies Esteban Guerrieri and Néstor Girolami completed the top 10, with the latter backing off on his final lap safe in the knowledge that holding station would hand him pole for the reverse-grid Opening Race.

For Hungarian Michelisz, the pole was the fourth of his career and his first since WTCC Race of Japan in 2015: “I am super happy with the result today. I had the confidence, I knew the car is great and after seeing the pace in Free Practice I knew I could be in the top three. I was not sure it would be enough for pole but in the end there were no mistakes and it’s very satisfying on a circuit like this. It’s such a special track, very exciting at 240kph in some demanding areas.”

Saturday’s action begins with the Opening Race at 11h20 local time followed by the Main Race at 12h45. Both races are held over three laps of the 25.378-kilometre Nurburgring Nordschleife.