WTCR: Three different winners at Slovakia Ring
Three different drivers from three different teams, representing three different manufacturers, scored their respective victories in three races of the third round of the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup at Slovakia Ring.
Frederic Vervisch (Team Comtoyou, Audi RS3 LMS) triumphed in Race 1, scoring his second WTCR win in a career. Then, Nestor Girolami (ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport, Honda Civic Type R) triumphed in Race 2, what was his third win this year. Finally, Ma Qing Hua (Mulsanne, Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce) became the first Chinese driver to take WTCR victory.
In Race 1, Frederic Vervisch became the race winner after making fantastic progress from the ninth place on the starting grid. Most of the job he made during the opening lap when he progressed from P9 to P2.
The championship leader Nestor ‘Bebu’ Girolami retired early from Race 1 after he went to a gravel trap. That accident called a Safety Car. The race resumed on lap 4 and then Vervisch made a move on Ma Qing Hua on lap 5, taking the lead. Vervisch stayed in front until the end of the 11-lap race while Ma Qing Hua defended his P2 from Norbert Michelisz in BRC Racing Team’s Hyundai i30 N TCR.
Jean-Karl Vernay (Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport) finished fourth, ahead of Augusto Farfus (BRC Racing Team, Hyundai) who made great progress from P19 on the grid. Two other BRC Hyundai drivers were behind him – reigning champion Gabriele Tarquini and pole-sitter Nick Catsburg. Tom Coronel (Comtoyou Cupra), Mikel Azcona (PWR Racing Cupra) and Wildcard entry Luca Engstler (Hyundai) completed the top 10.
Münnich Motorsport’s Nestor Girolami and his teammate Esteban Guerrieri, two drivers that came to Slovakia as championship-leading pair, climbed together to the podium after the Race 2. The Argentinean pair shared a podium with Kevin Ceccon, who finished third in an Alfa Romeo Giulietta.
Pole position starter Rob Huff (Sebastien Loeb Racing VW Golf) finished the race in the fifth place, behind Nick Catsburg (Hyundai). Norbert Michelisz (Hyundai), Daniel Haglof (PWR Racing Cupra), Niels Langeveld (Comtoyou Audi), Ma Qing Hua (Alfa Romeo) and Tom Coronel (Comtoyou Cupra) completed the top 10.
Nick Catsburg started from pole position again in Race 3 but he finished just 12th. The Italian squad Team Mulsanne had the most reasons for celebration, adding two more podiums to its account, including a victory of Ma Qing Hua in the #55 Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR. He managed to beat BRC Racing’s Norbert Michelisz in a hard fight for a victory while Kevin Ceccon brought his Alfa to the third-place finish.
Comtoyou Team’s Niels Langeveld ended a weekend with a strong fourth place, ahead of Mikel Azcona and Esteban Guerrieri. Augusto Farfus finished seventh ahead of Aurelien Panis and Gabriele Tarquini. Wildcard entry Luca Engstler repeated his P10 from Race 1.
Despite his bad result in Race 3 (24th place), Nestor Girolami is leaving Slovakia as the championship leader with 125 points on his account, two more than teammate Esteban Guerrieri. Norbert Michelisz is third with 102 points, six more than Gabriele Tarquini.
The next WTCR event would be the Race of the Netherlands at Circuit Zandvoort on May 18-19.