Tiago Monteiro pulled off a sublime slipstreaming overtake to win the opening round of the 2021 WTCR − FIA World Touring Car Cup on the legendary Nürburgring Nordschleife. And by holding off team-mate and home hero Luca Engstler, Jean-Karl Vernay took the Race 2 victory to leave Germany as the Goodyear #FollowTheLeader.
Yvan Muller, who started Race 1 from the reverse-grid pole driving a Goodyear-equipped Lynk & Co 03 TCR for Cyan Racing Lynk & Co, was unable to fend off Monteiro (ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport), as the Portuguese timed his move for the lead to perfection at the end of the long Döttinger Höhe straight.
It was Monteiro’s first victory on the 25.378-kilometre track in a WTCR race and the third for his German Münnich Motorsport team on home turf and the Honda Civic Type R TCR. It was also Portuguese Monteiro’s second WTCR triumph since his comeback from serious head and neck injuries sustained in testing crash.
Santiago Urrutia, from Uruguay, completed the top three for Cyan Performance Lynk & Co following several position changes on a thrilling final lap.
While Monteiro led Race 1 for only a handful of turns, Vernay (Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team) was in front throughout Race 2, the Frenchman resisting several attacks from his young German team-mate to give the all-new Hyundai Elantra N TCR a debut WTCR victory. Néstor Girolami (ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport) was third from the pole position.
Engstler was the FIA WTCR Junior Driver Title winner in Race 1 and 2. Tom Coronel and Gilles Magnus shared the WTCR Trophy victories in their Comtoyou-run Audis. Bence Boldizs (Zengő Motorsport Drivers’ Academy) was the top CUPRA Leon Competición finisher with P13 in Race 2.
Nathanaël Berthon (Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport) was the best of the second-generation Audi RS 3 LMS drivers with sixth in Race 2, as Jessica Bäckman scored points on her debut in the WTCR as the series’ first female driver.
Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team tops the Teams’ standings ahead of fellow German entrant ALL-INKL.COM ünnich Motorsport. Jean-Karl Vernay won the TAG Heuer Best Lap Trophy for his 8m53.608s effort in Race 2.