Néstor Girolami heads team-mate Esteban Guerrieri in race two

Néstor Girolami heads team-mate Esteban Guerrieri in race two

Néstor Girolami
Photo: Marcel Langer / DPPI

Néstor Girolami extended his points lead with his third victory of the year in the second FIA World Touring Car Cup race at the Slovakiaring, as Münnich Motorsport team-mate Esteban Guerrieri made it a Honda 1-2.

SLR’s Rob Huff started the reverse-grid race from pole position and initially lost the lead to Girolami at the first turn, before the Volkswagen driver re-passed the Honda on the exit of the corner.

However Huff could only hold the Argentine back for one lap, and Girolami took the lead at Turn 3 on the following tour.

Guerreri, meanwhile, had made a superb start to move up to third from sixth on the grid, and the second of the Münnich drivers also passed Huff just one lap later.

Thereafter the leading duo worked together to not fight for the lead, allowing Girolami to claim victory by just over half a second ahead of his team-mate and extend his championship lead to 12 points.

In finishing second, Guerrieri also made sure that it will be a Honda leaving Slovakia as the points leader, as the Argentine enjoys a 24-point cushion to the third-placed driver in the standings.

Team Mulsanne’s Kevin Ceccon completed the podium in third, making it the second Alfa Romeo on the podium in as many races after his team-mate Ma Qing Hua achieved the feat in race one earlier.

BRC Racing’s Nicky Catsburg was the best of the Hyundai drivers in fourth, having battled his way past Huff on the penultimate lap, whilst Huff took fifth after lacking the pace to stay at the front.

Norbert Michelisz was the second Hyundai in sixth, the Hungarian looking to pass Huff on the last lap but avoiding any serious challenges as the BRC driver will start from the front row of the grid for the final race.

PWR Racing’s Mikel Azcona was the leading CUPRA driver in seventh, ahead of the best Audi of Comtoyou Racing’s Niels Langeveld in eighth, as the Dutchman broke into the top ten for the first time.

Ma Qing Hua made it a double top ten for Team Mulsanne, whilst Comtoyou Racing’s Tom Coronel put in a spirited drive to complete the top ten, having started the race at the back of the field.

Similarly making a strong drive through the field was the best Lynk & Co of Yvan Muller in 11th, the Cyan Racing driver having been up to 13th by the end of the second lap.

WRT’s Jean-Karl Vernay snuck ahead of team-mate Gordon Shedden on the final lap, with the duo finishing in 12th and 13th respectively.

Reigning champion Gabriele Tarquini was just 19th after the Hyundai driver picked up a drive-through penalty for contact with Aurélien Panis whilst the duo were fighting for ninth. Panis, who appeared to turn in on Tarquini, later retired from the race.

Race one winner Frédéric Vervisch was the first casualty in the race, the Audi driver retiring after the opening lap due to contact and a subsequent off-track excursion.

Also making an early pit stop for repairs was Cyan Racing’s Thed Björk, who reported damage to his suspension after contact on the opening lap.

Both the Hyundai of wildcard entry Luca Engstler and the SLR Volkswagen of Benjamin Leuchter retired after lap two when the duo made heavy contact at Turn 1.

Race three is scheduled to get underway at 16:45 CEST (15:45 BST).

Race result

POS NO DRIVER NAT ENTRANT CAR LAPS TIME BEST GD
1 29 Néstor GIROLAMI ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR 9 20:03.915 2:12.066 2
2 86 Esteban GUERRIERI ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR 9 0.651 2:12.282 6
3 31 Kevin CECCON Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR 9 0.983 2:11.939 4
4 88 Nicky CATSBURG BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Racing Team Hyundai i30 N TCR 9 2.626 2:12.801 10
5 12 Rob HUFF SLR VW Motorsport Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 9 4.208 2:13.119 1
6 5 Norbert MICHELISZ BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse Hyundai i30 N TCR 9 4.589 2:12.575 9
7 96 Mikel AZCONA PWR Racing CUPRA TCR 9 5.094 2:12.919 13
8 10 Niels LANGEVELD Comtoyou Team Audi Sport Audi RS3 LMS TCR 9 7.987 2:13.038 3
9 55 Ma QING HUA Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR 9 8.346 2:12.398 8
10 50 Tom CORONEL Comtoyou DHL Team CUPRA Racing CUPRA TCR 9 11.640 2:13.399 27
11 100 Yvan MULLER Cyan Racing Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 03 TCR 9 14.726 2:13.458 20
12 69 Jean-Karl VERNAY Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport Audi RS3 LMS TCR 9 17.832 2:13.216 19
13 52 Gordon SHEDDEN Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport Audi RS3 LMS TCR 9 18.095 2:13.410 22
14 25 Mehdi BENNANI SLR VW Motorsport Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 9 21.386 2:13.522 18
15 14 Johan KRISTOFFERSSON SLR Volkswagen Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 9 21.664 2:13.651 26
16 18 Tiago MONTEIRO KCMG Honda Civic Type R TCR 9 22.367 2:13.639 24
17 68 Yann EHRLACHER Cyan Performance Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 03 TCR 9 22.918 2:14.017 25
18 111 Andy PRIAULX Cyan Performance Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 03 TCR 9 23.421 2:14.235 23
19 1 Gabriele TARQUINI BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse Hyundai i30 N TCR 9 28.727 2:12.702 16
20 37 Daniel HAGLÖF PWR Racing CUPRA TCR 9 2:14.971 2:13.197 7
21 8 Augusto FARFUS BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Racing Team Hyundai i30 N TCR 8 + 1 LAP 2:12.326 17
22 11 Thed BJÖRK Cyan Racing Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 03 TCR 7 + 2 LAPS 2:13.623 11
R 21 Aurélien PANIS Comtoyou DHL Team CUPRA Racing CUPRA TCR 7 DNF 2:13.804 5
R 9 Attila TASSI KCMG Honda Civic Type R TCR 5 DNF 2:15.912 21
R 6 Luca ENGSTLER Hyundai Team Engstler Hyundai i30 N TCR 3 DNF 2:16.628 14
R 33 Benjamin LEUCHTER SLR Volkswagen Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 2 DNF N/A 12
R 22 Frédéric VERVISCH Comtoyou Team Audi Sport Audi RS3 LMS TCR 1 DNF N/A 15

WTCR points standings after Round 8 in 2019