Münnich Motorsport’s Yann Ehrlacher claimed his second victory of the season in the opening FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) race at Zandvoort, as further back a clash between Yvan Muller and Norbert Michelisz caused a race stoppage.
At the start pole-sitter Rob Huff made a poor getaway as the Brit struggled with holding his clutch for a lengthy grid formation, allowing Ehrlacher in the Honda to get into the lead.
However, the racing would not last for long as an already bad day for Hyundai was compounded when BRC racing’s Norbert Michelisz and YMR’s Yvan Muller came together after just three corners, resulting in both cars crashing out and Muller’s car perched on top of the barriers.
That required the race to be suspended for half an hour, as neither Muller nor Michelisz’s i30 N could be removed without a crane, and barrier repairs were then required.
“It’s a shame to do something like that – to break a car for 20th place,” said a furious Muller. “It’s a bit crazy – I don’t know why he did that, but he did it and that’s the result.”
When the race resumed, Ehrlacher was able to get away from DG Sport’s Aurélien Comte to claim his second win of the season, whilst Comte held on to second to secure the best position for the Peugeot 308 in WTCR.
Sébastien Loeb Racing’s Huff held on to the final podium position, despite pressure from the Audi of Gordon Shedden, with the Leopard Lukoil driver making a botched attempt at Turn 1 on the tenth lap, only to outbrake himself and allow Huff back through with slight contact.
Shedden held on to finish fourth ahead of Audi Sport team-mate Jean-Karl Vernay in fifth, whilst the second Münnich Motorsport Honda of Esteban Guerrieri was sixth.
Dutch favourite Tom Coronel took seventh, ahead of the Sébastien Loeb Racing’s Mehdi Bennani in eighth.
The top ten was completed by Comtoyou Racing duo Nathanaël Berthon and Aurélien Panis. Their team-mate Frédéric Vervisch would have been inside the top ten but the Belgian stopped on track after the first lap of racing at the restart, having gone off whilst battling with Benjamin Lessennes.
Lessennes would later receive a drive-through penalty for a jump start, along with Prince Bernhard van Oranje, dropping the Boutsen Ginion driver to 19th.
None of the Hyundai drivers finished in the points, with Thed Björk the only finisher down in 14th position after Gabriele Tarquini retired to the pits whilst running in 22nd position.
A late race one-lap safety car period would be required when Zsolt Szabó came together on lap 11, with Giovanardi ending up in the wall at Turn 3 and out of the race.
Ehrlacher’s win elevates the Frenchman to joint second in the points standings, after the top four Hyundai drivers failed to score in the race.
Qualifying for races two and three takes place at 08:30 CEST (07:30 BST) on Monday.
|1||68||Yann EHRLACHER||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic Type R TCR||14||14 LAPS||1:45.901||2|
|2||7||Aurélien COMTE||DG Sport Compétition||Peugeot 308 TCR||14||1.217||1:46.713||7|
|3||12||Rob HUFF||Sébastien Loeb Racing||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||14||1.566||1:46.551||1|
|4||52||Gordon SHEDDEN||Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team||Audi RS3 LMS||14||1.879||1:46.329||3|
|5||69||Jean-Karl VERNAY||Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team||Audi RS3 LMS||14||2.440||1:46.387||4|
|6||86||Esteban GUERRIERI||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic Type R TCR||14||5.280||1:46.827||10|
|7||9||Tom CORONEL||Boutsen Ginion Racing||Honda Civic Type R TCR||14||5.816||1:47.410||8|
|8||25||Mehdi BENNANI||Sébastien Loeb Racing||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||14||6.665||1:47.259||11|
|9||23||Nathanaël BERTHON||Comtoyou Racing||Audi RS3 LMS||14||7.044||1:47.365||6|
|10||21||Aurélien PANIS||Comtoyou Racing||Audi RS3 LMS||14||8.120||1:47.414||12|
|11||20||Denis DUPONT||Comtoyou Racing||Audi RS3 LMS||14||8.586||1:47.105||13|
|12||15||James THOMPSON||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic Type R TCR||14||8.896||1:46.995||14|
|13||10||Gianni MORBIDELLI||Team Mulsanne||Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR||14||9.383||1:47.233||15|
|14||11||Thed BJÖRK||YMR||Hyundai i30 N TCR||14||9.918||1:47.185||18|
|15||27||John FILIPPI||Team Oscaro by Campos Racing||CUPRA TCR||14||10.371||1:47.260||17|
|16||66||Zsolt Dávid SZABÓ||Zengő Motorsport||CUPRA TCR||14||11.022||1:46.803||26|
|17||8||Norbert NAGY||Zengő Motorsport||CUPRA TCR||14||12.440||1:46.831||23|
|18||70||Mat’o HOMOLA||DG Sport Compétition||Peugeot 308 TCR||14||13.216||1:48.349||22|
|19||63||Benjamin LESSENNES||Boutsen Ginion Racing||Honda Civic Type R TCR||14||13.424||1:46.908||5|
|20||3||Michael VERHAGEN||Bas Koeten Racing||Audi RS3 LMS||14||15.384||1:47.932||25|
|21||2||Bernhard VAN ORANJE NASSAU||Bas Koeten Racing||Audi RS3 LMS||14||16.364||1:48.232||27|
|R||88||Fabrizio GIOVANARDI||Team Mulsanne||Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR||10||DNF||1:47.344||20|
|R||74||Pepe ORIOLA||Team Oscaro by Campos Racing||CUPRA TCR||10||DNF||1:47.146||16|
|R||30||Gabriele TARQUINI||BRC Racing Team||Hyundai i30 N TCR||8||DNF||1:48.006||24|
|R||22||Frédéric VERVISCH||Audi Sport Team Comtoyou||Audi RS3 LMS||3||DNF||2:45.122||9|
|R||5||Norbert MICHELISZ||BRC Racing Team||Hyundai i30 N TCR||0||DNF||N/A||19|
|R||48||Yvan MULLER||YMR||Hyundai i30 N TCR||0||DNF||N/A||21|