Yann Ehrlacher scored a sensational victory in Race 1 at WTCR Race of Hungary after soaring from fifth on the grid to the lead in just two corners, as ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport celebrated a team one-two in the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO at the Hungaroring this afternoon.
Ehrlacher made a great start
But it was a squabble between the drivers ahead of him at Turn 2 that allowed him to take an opportunistic lead he would not lose.
DHL Pole Position winner and local hero Norbert Michelisz lost out to fellow front row starter Esteban Guerrieri on the drag down to Turn 1, but the Hungarian was determined to lead in front of his home crowd. As BRC Racing team-mate Gabriele Tarquini joined the fight into Turn 2, the trio ran side by side – and then wide together into the long left-hander.
That left a gaping hole on the inside for Erhlacher, and he needed no further invitation to slip his Honda Civic Type R TCR past all three.
Guerrieri was the first of the trio to scrabble through in second, while Michelisz found himself down in fourth behind the YMR Racing Hyundai i30 N TCR of Yvan Muller, up from sixth on the grid.
“I was hoping to do a good start and we did it,” said a delighted Ehrlacher with a big smile – and some understatement
“Honestly starting from P5 and when you have a tight race like this and there is no crash, you can’t go back to P1. I was lucky enough… for sure we did a great start. I jumped Thed at the start and after I was lucky that the two-three firsts crashed together in T2 and I take the opportunity to go in the inside and after it was good to be P1.”
The two mainly black Hondas built a cushion to the squabbling Hyundais of Muller and Michelisz, and although Guerrieri briefly closed on his team-mate in the second half of the 12-lap race, Ehrlacher had it all under control to take his and the team’s first win of the season.
Michelisz hounded Muller for third place and on lap five made a move down the inside into Turn 1. But he entered the hairpin too hot, ran wide on the exit and Muller kept his advantage.
Further attempts on the outside of the turn failed to unlock the Frenchman’s defences. But on the penultimate lap, Michelisz succeeded after gaining enough momentum to slip down the inside under braking – to the delight of his adoring home crowd. A podium was at least some consolation for failing to convert his DHL Pole Position into a victory.
Muller was fourth ahead of Rob Huff in his Sébastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR, the Briton complaining of a “long brake pedal”
Tarquini lost out in the first lap shuffle and the double winner from WTCR AFRIQUIA Race of Morocco could only finish sixth.
Behind him, local wildcard entry Dániel Nagy impressed on his way to seventh in his M1RA Hyundai, ahead of Jean-Karl Vernay’s Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team Audi RS 3 LMS and Thed Björk’s YMR Hyundai, who dropped from third on the grid to a disappointing ninth at the flag.
Teenage Belgian Benjamin Lessennes crossed the finishing line in P10 but earlier contact with James Thompson’s Honda at Turn 1 earned him a 10-second penalty, which dropped him down the order and promoted Mehdi Bennani into the final point-scoring position as Nathanaël Berthon landed a season-best P11 for Comtoyou Racing.
John Filippi was not so fortunate, retiring with car damage following a hefty hit from Norbert Nagy at the first corner. Tom Coronel and Gianni Morbidelli also failed to go the distance.
— FIA WTCR / Oscaro (@FIA_WTCR) April 28, 2018