Norbert Michelisz claimed a crucial pole position at Honda’s home circuit for the FIA World Touring Car Championship Race of Japan at Twin Ring Motegi.
The Hungarian, who is fourth in the Drivers’ Championship, braved atrocious weather conditions to top Q1 and Q3 to claim his third pole of the year – and his fifth consecutive front-row start – in his Honda Civic WTCC.
It is the eighth pole of Norbert’s WTCC career and the 10th for Honda in the series, while the five bonus points he received cut his deficit to the championship lead to 27.5 with six races remaining.
His new Castrol Honda World Touring Car Team-mate Esteban Guerrieri, who is standing in for the injured Tiago Monteiro this weekend, made a terrific debut performance to qualify fourth.
Just as happy was Ryo Michigami, who set a new record on Sunday morning for Honda Racing Team JAS.
His fifth place marked the best qualifying performance of any Japanese driver in WTCC history and also meant three Hondas made it into Q3 for the first time in 2017.
Following qualifying, Norbert, Esteban and Ryo combined to secure Honda’s second MAC3 victory of the season by over a second, ensuring valuable extra Manufacturers’ Championship points.
Due to the Typhoon-induced schedule changes this weekend, there are just a few hours before the Opening Race.
Esteban will be the best-placed Honda in seventh with Norbert ninth. Ryo, unfortunately, will start the opener from the back of the grid due to a penalty incurred yesterday for an engine change. His Main Race starting spot is not affected.