WTCC Opening Race Pole flash: a first for Gleason
Kevin Gleason will become the first American to start an FIA World Touring Car Championship race from pole position after claiming the honour for the reverse-grid Opening Race at JVCKENWOOD Race of Japan.
The RC Motorsport driver clinched 10thplace in Q2 during the final moments of the 10-minute session, knocking Dániel Nagy’s Zengő Motorsport Honda Civic WTCC down to 11th. That effort was enough to hand Gleason the DHL Pole Position.
“It’s been a bumpy ride so far this season,” he said. “I’ve made mistakes and I’ve had some car problems too, so I’m thrilled with this. But the race will be tough, especially if we have a standing start in the rain.”
Gleason will be joined on the front row by WTCC Trophy points leader Tom Chilton, who was ninth fastest in Q2 in his Sébastien Loeb Racing Citroën C-Elysée WTCC.
Gleason’s RC Motorsport team-mate Yann Ehrlacher will line up on the second row, with Chilton’s team-mate Mehdi Bennani beside him. The Polestar Cyan Racing Volvo S60 of WTCC championship leader Thed Björk will start fifth.
At the back will be Ryo Michigami despite the local hero’s impressive pace at Motegi this weekend. An enforced engine change left the Honda driver with no option, although after his performance in the Q3 top five shoot-out he will at least start the Main Race from third on the grid.
The Opening Race of WTCC JVCKENWOOD Race of Japan will start at 1415 local time.