Suzuka WTCR: Ceccon, Comte top qualifying sessions
Sometime GP2 racer Kevin Ceccon dominated second qualifying for this weekend's Suzuka WTCR round, while also taking second behind Aurelien Comte in the opening session.
Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo racer Ceccon ended up just over a tenth behind the DG Sport Peugeot of Comte in first qualifying, which determines the grid for Saturday's opening race.
The Italian, who replaced Gianni Morbidelli in Mulsanne's line-up midway through the season, then proceeded to dominate the final portion of second qualifying, beating the BRC Racing Hyundai of Gabriele Tarquini by 0.699 seconds to take pole for Race 3 on Sunday.
Second for Tarquini means he stretches his points lead further over fellow Hyundai drivers Thed Bjork and Yvan Muller, who both failed to make the top 10 in second qualifying.
Comte was third, two tenths behind Tarquini, while Yann Ehrlacher (Munnich Motorsport Honda) and Mehdi Benanni (Sebastien Loeb Racing VW) were the remaining shootout contenders, taking fourth and fifth respectively.
Pepe Oriola (Campos Cupra) took the reverse grid pole for Race 2 by virtue of ending up 10th in the second part of second qualifying.
The Spaniard ended up setting an identical laptime to Esteban Guerrieri (Munnich Honda), but because he set his first he kept the position, with Guerrieri ending up 11th both in the session and on the grid for Races 2 and 3.
Muller (YMR Hyundai) completed the order and will start 12th, having had his laptime scrubbed for exceeding track limits.
Oriola will line up ahead of Bennani's SLR teammate Rob Huff in Race 2, with Denis Dupont (Comtoyou Audi), Norbert Michelisz (BRC Racing) and Aurelien Panis (Comtoyou) following behind.
Guerrieri could at least take some comfort in taking third in first qualifying behind Comte and Ceccon, followed by Ehrlacher, Tarquini and Muller.
Title contender Bjork endured a difficult today in his YMR Hyundai, managing only 17th in first qualifying and then falling at the first hurdle in second qualifying as he came 13th - where he will start both Sunday races.
Tiago Monteiro, returning from injury after over a year on the sidelines, meanwhile secured 20th on the grid for Saturday's opener in his Boutsen Ginion Honda and 16th for the two Sunday races.
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