tcr / Surprise pole for Shedden, Vernay on the front row

On his first TCR International Series appearance, ‘Flash’ Gordon Shedden claimed a fantastic pole position in the United Arab Emirates ahead of team mate and championship leader Jean-Karl Vernay, who will be with him on row-1 of the grid and has a big opportunity to wrap up the TCR title in Race-1 of the season finale.

Making the most of his broad experience in touring car racing, 3-time BTCC champion Shedden completed a perfect lap in Q2 to precede the Frenchman by less than 2 tenths of seconds, with the pair locking out the front row for Leopard Racing for the second consecutive event.

This result also means that Vernay is now even closer to securing the Drivers’ title as the 4 points he earned in qualifying stretched his lead in the standing to 25 points. His main rival Attila Tassi, 10th today, will start the second race from pole thanks to the reverse grid rule.

It has been an extremely close session at the Dubai Autodrome, with no less than 17 cars in the same second. After making it to Q2 by the skin of his teeth, Gordon Shedden claimed the pole position thanks to an excellent 1:27.848, making the Brit the only driver to break the 1:28 barrier.

 

Gordon Shedden (pole position):
“It has been a fantastic day for everybody here in Dubai: a fantastic 1-2 in qualifying for Leopard racing, a great debut in the TCR series for me. It took a lot of time this morning to understand the car, we struggled quite a bit with the set-up, so I wasn’t expecting at all to be on pole. My first very good lap was at the end of Q1 and I went out quite early in Q2 to set up a time that was not beaten. Everything was new for me: the series, the car, the tyres and the team. Everything is quite different from what I am used to, but I am enjoying a lot this first TCR experience. The quality and the level of the series is very high, and the car is fun to drive. I have to thank the Leopard Team and Volkswagen for for the great job,  I am here to help the team and Jean-Karl, although he is very capable himself. It is great to have both cars on the front row, I’m here to do the best job I can for them and hopefully tomorrow we will celebrate a new champion together.”

 

Jean-Karl Vernay (2nd):
“It’s once again a great day with great results for Leopard Racing, and I congratulate Gordon for clinching the pole in his first TCR appearance. Not a real surprise, we know what he is worth… Having this 1-2 on the grid and 4 Volkswagen cars in the Top 5 looks promising for tomorrow. Starting from the first row will be very good, I just hope we’ll pass first corner unscathed but having Gordon beside me will be helpful. Now I have a 25 point lead in the championship, so I’d just need to finish Race-1 in front of Tassi to clinch the title. A strategy is never easy to do, but the key will be to stay patient and be smart. I will try to be gentle with the car during the race but the situation right now looks great. I am confident in our car, in the team and in my ability, so I will approach things avoiding useless pressure. We will carry on working like this and try to finish the job tomorrow.”

 

Q1 Results

1 – D. Dupont / BEL / Comtoyou Racing / SEAT León V3 / 1:28.154
2 – G. Tarquini / ITA / BRC Racing Team / Hyundai i30N / +0.249
3 – B. Leuchter / GER / WestCoast Racing / Volkswagen Golf GTI / +0.271
4 – A. Menu / SWI / BRC Racing Team / Hyundai i30N / +0.277
5 – J.K. Vernay / FRA / Leopard Racing WRT / Volkswagen Golf GTI / +0.303
6 – S. Comini / SWI / Comtoyou Racing / Audi RS 3 LMS / +0.442
7 – D. Lloyd / GBR / Lukoil Craft-Bamboo Racing / SEAT León V3 / +0.488
8 – A. Tassi / HUN / M1RA / Honda Civic Type-R / +0.532
9 – G. Morbidelli / ITA / WestCoast Racing / Volkswagen Golf GTI / +0.555
10 – P. Oriola / SPA / Lukoil Craft-Bamboo Racing / SEAT León V3 / +0.577
11 – F. Vervisch / BEL / Comtoyou Racing / Audi RS 3 LMS / +0.642
12 – J. Nash / GBR / Lukoil Craft-Bamboo Racing / SEAT León V3 / +0.729
13 – A. Comte / FRA / DG Sport Competition / Opel Astra / +0.738
14 – G. Shedden / GBR / Leopard Racing WRT / Volkswagen Golf GTI / +0.811

 

Q2 Results

1 – G. Shedden / GBR / Leopard Racing WRT / Volkswagen Golf GTI / 1:27.849
2 – J.K. Vernay / FRA / Leopard Racing WRT / Volkswagen Golf GTI / +0.196
3 – B. Leuchter / GER / WestCoast Racing / Volkswagen Golf GTI / +0.270
4 – P. Oriola / SPA / Lukoil Craft-Bamboo Racing / SEAT León V3 / +0.330
5 – G. Morbidelli / ITA / WestCoast Racing / Volkswagen Golf GTI / +0.346
6 – D. Dupont / BEL / Comtoyou Racing / SEAT León V3 / +0.407
7 – A. Comte / FRA / DG Sport Competition / Opel Astra / +0.515
8 – D. Lloyd / GBR / Lukoil Craft-Bamboo Racing / SEAT León V3 / +0.774
9 – S. Comini / SWI / Comtoyou Racing / Audi RS 3 LMS / +0.825
10 – A. Tassi / HUN / M1RA / Honda Civic Type-R / +0.840
11 – J. Nash / GBR / Lukoil Craft-Bamboo Racing / SEAT León V3 / +0.903
12 – F. Vervisch / BEL / Comtoyou Racing / Audi RS 3 LMS / +0.945

 

Dubai Autodrome – 3.59 km (local time, GMT +4)

Saturday, November 18th
11:05 – Race 1 (17 laps)
Grid with top-10 reversed for Race 2
15:30 – Race 2 (17 laps)