Gabriele Tarquini broke the hearts of the enthusiastic masses in the main grandstand at WTCR Race of Hungary by beating national hero and team-mate Norbert Michelisz to victory in Race 3, as the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO put on another fine display of action-packed racing at the Hungaroring.
The key was the Italian veteran’s trademark scorching start that allowed him to streak ahead of DHL Pole Position winner Michelisz before they braked for Turn 1.
In a race interrupted by first a safety car and then a red flag because of a rain shower, Tarquini kept his cool and extended his WTCR points lead over second-placed Yann Ehrlacher as the BRC Racing Team claimed a resounding one-two with its Hyundai i30 N TCRs.
“I’m very sorry for Norbi because he made a fantastic weekend and in the end he finished without win. Today was fantastic because he scored a fantastic pole position and he was in the best position to win the third race. Unfortunately for him my start was better than his start and in this was the key of my win. After with the same car it’s very difficult to overtake the car in front of you. Norbi was very fast on this track, he was unbeatable in qualifying and in every session he was faster than me but in the end the only key to win the race was to beat him on the start. I tried my best and it happened.”
Earlier in the day, Sébastien Loeb Racing’s Rob Huff converted his DHL Pole Position into a reverse grid Race 2 victory.
Driving a Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR, the Briton withheld an impressive challenge from wildcard entry Dániel Nagy, who capped a competitive weekend with a podium in his M1RA-entered Hyundai.
“It was really good for us, we’ve been struggling a bit with pace this weekend so to get that crucial P10, which gave us the pole position for the first race today was really important. To make a good start, we changed the set-up a little bit in qualifying, we improved it and we had a really good race with [Dániel] Nagy and luckily not too close. He never got too close to make a move but testament to Sébastien Loeb Racing and Volkswagen for the hard work they put in this weekend to really try to improve the car in every session, in every qualifying, every race and we have to be very happy.”
Huff’s win in the Golf means four of the seven car brands represented in the all-new WTCR have tasted victory after just six races, following Yann Ehrlacher’s Race 1 success on Saturday.
The Frenchman climbed from fifth on the grid to the lead in just two corners to deliver ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport a first victory with its Honda Civic Type R TCR. He then landed the TAG Heuer Best Lap Trophy for his rapid display in Race 3.
Yvan Muller left Hungary with two thirds in WTCR OSCARO for his self-run team but it would prove a weekend to forget for his team-mate Thed Björk, who had to make do with two ninth-place finishes in his YMR Hyundai.
Eighteen-year-old Benjamin Lessenes impressed with fifth place in Race 3 for Boutsen Ginion Racing. Jean-Karl Vernay finished in the points in all three races for the Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team, while former simracing champion Zsolt Szabó was ninth in Race 2 for MOL-supported Zengő Motosport.
After finishing second in Race 1 and fifth in Race 2, a jumped start in Race 3 earned Esteban Guerrieri a drive-through penalty. 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.
“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. For sure we did a bit of team race because we had a big gap to the guys behind and I say ‘yeah, we had to manage a bit our pace’ but that was it.”
“I knew that [my uncle Yvan Muller] was the [holder of the] record of poles and also victories as well. It feels great already to be on the same grid and even on this list for the winning driver in Hungary. Big congratulations to the other guys, Esteban and Norbi, but I’m happy to share this with Yvan”, said Yann Ehrlacher.
Photos FIA WTCR, KW