L&T Motorsport

Vernay keeps championship hopes alive with pole

Jean-Karl Vernay took pole position for the first race in Macau in a rain hit qualifying ahead of Leopard Racing Volkswagon Golf teammate Stefano Comini.

With both drivers still in contention for the title reigning champion Comini initially took second behind the Craft-Bamboo Lukoil SEAT Leon of Pepe Oriola in first qualifying, also in line for the championship as well as teammate James Nash.

It was bad news for WestCoast Honda driver Mikhail Grachev who will have to start in 28th and last after striking the wall at the ultra fast Mandarin corner on his first flying lap.

Tin Sritrai also crashed his Team Thailand Honda in first qualifying at Faraway Hill just as Vernay took second spot from his teammate, and just before the rain started to fall.

Although missing out on the top twelve cut off, Andy Yan will start from pole for the TCR Asia series in his Engstler Motorsport Golf, thirteenth overall just ahead of teammate Davit Kajaia.

The rain seemed to suit the Golfs as Vernay and Comini took turns at the top of the timesheets with the Swiss racer loosing out to his teammate after being slowed up behind Oriola on his last flyer.

Tiago Monteiro put his practice two woes behind him as he took third spot in his WestCoast Honda and will share the second row Antti Buri’s LMS SEAT.

Dusan Borkovic in B3 SEAT got the better of Gianni Morbidelli in the other WestCoast Honda as Borkovic’s teammate Mat’o Homola could do no better than ninth.

The rain didn’t seem to help the Craft-Bamboo cars as championship leader Nash could only manage seventh with Oriola tenth, effectively sandwiched by the third car of Sergey Afanasyev and Homola.

The grid is now down to 28 cars after Adam Morgan never turned up, his Mercedes teammate William Lok was well off the and five others were also outside of the 107% qualifying requirement. Five other drivers also didn’t meet the 107% rule but have allowed to start due to their practice pace, including Grachev.

James Bourke

TCR correspondent

Photo:TCR media

%d bloggers like this: