Thed Björk heads Lynk & Co 1-2 in Zandvoort race one

Thed Björk heads Lynk & Co 1-2 in Zandvoort race one

Thed Björk
Photo: Florent Gooden / DPPI

Thed Björk led Cyan Racing team-mate Yvan Muller home for a Lynk & Co 1-2 in the opening FIA World Touring Car Cup race at Zandvoort, as PWR Racing’s Mikel Azcona completed the podium.

After a controversial qualifying session, in which the Lynk & Co cars posted the four fastest times but were then hit with an immediate Balance of Performance change afterwards, the tension was high ahead of the first race in The Netherlands.

All four of the Cyan Racing blue cars had their power reduced back down to 97.5% ahead of the race, whilst being given a 10 kg weight reduction, putting their BoP level back to how it was in Slovakia.

At the start Björk pulled away cleanly from Muller, whilst behind Azcona got his CUPRA ahead of Andy Priaulx’s Lynk & Co, moving the Spaniard into third.

Björk was then able to ease to a second win of the year, despite team-mate Muller going onto his radio halfway through the race to urge them to tell the Swede to ‘hurry up’ as Azcona kept the pressure on.

In the end Azcona made no serious attempts to pass Muller and followed the Frenchman home to take his second podium of the season, moving the Spaniard up to fifth overall in the drivers’ standings.

Johan Kristoffersson finished the race as the top Volkswagen driver in fourth after the SLR driver got past Priaulx on the final lap, leaving the Brit to settle for fifth – equalling his best result of the year.

SLR’s Mehdi Bennani jumped two places to end the opening lap in sixth, with the VW driver remaining there for the rest of the race.

Yann Ehrlacher finished in seventh, the Cyan Racing driver having received a grid penalty after qualifying for blocking, leaving him to battle up through the field. Ehrlacher made up two places from the grid, but the Lynk & Co driver was unable to progress any further thereafter.

The biggest loser on the opening lap was SLR’s Benjamin Leuchter, who dropped from fifth to eighth, but the German nonetheless recorded his best-ever WTCR result.

Completing the top ten were the leading Audi of Frédéric Vervisch and the best Hyundai of Nicky Catsburg, in a difficult race for both marques.

In the battle for the championship, erstwhile points leader Néstor Girolami fought to 15th and a single point, whilst his Münnich Motorsport team-mate Esteban Guerrieri took the chequered flag in 12th and moved to one point clear of his compatriot.

BRC Racing’s Augusto Farfus retired to the pits after six laps with a broken front splitter, whilst Rob Huff stopped after eight laps when engine problems continued with his Volkswagen, the Brit opting not to push the car too hard after an engine change ahead of the race.

A difficult race for Hyundai also Norbert Michelisz making a pit stop on lap five, with the Hungarian reporting vibrations on his car which caused him to drop seven places in a single lap on the previous tour, whilst running in 13th.

Qualifying for race two gets underway at 08:00 CEST (07:00 BST) on Sunday.

Race result

POS NO DRIVER NAT ENTRANT CAR LAPS TIME BEST GD
1 11 Thed BJÖRK Cyan Racing Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 03 TCR 12 12 LAPS 1:48.814 1
2 100 Yvan MULLER Cyan Racing Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 03 TCR 12 0.704 1:48.839 2
3 96 Mikel AZCONA PWR Racing CUPRA TCR 12 1.270 1:48.733 4
4 14 Johan KRISTOFFERSSON SLR Volkswagen Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 12 3.062 1:48.766 6
5 111 Andy PRIAULX Cyan Performance Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 03 TCR 12 3.631 1:48.801 3
6 25 Mehdi BENNANI SLR VW Motorsport Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 12 4.277 1:48.548 8
7 68 Yann EHRLACHER Cyan Performance Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 03 TCR 12 4.592 1:48.995 9
8 33 Benjamin LEUCHTER SLR Volkswagen Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 12 5.179 1:48.446 5
9 22 Frédéric VERVISCH Comtoyou Team Audi Sport Audi RS3 LMS TCR 12 5.870 1:48.249 11
10 88 Nicky CATSBURG BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Racing Team Hyundai i30 N TCR 12 5.984 1:48.444 10
11 69 Jean-Karl VERNAY Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport Audi RS3 LMS TCR 12 6.525 1:48.832 7
12 86 Esteban GUERRIERI ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR 12 6.768 1:48.710 14
13 37 Daniel HAGLÖF PWR Racing CUPRA TCR 12 7.167 1:48.627 13
14 21 Aurélien PANIS Comtoyou DHL Team CUPRA Racing CUPRA TCR 12 9.185 1:48.375 15
15 29 Néstor GIROLAMI ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR 12 9.460 1:48.471 18
16 10 Niels LANGEVELD Comtoyou Team Audi Sport Audi RS3 LMS TCR 12 9.939 1:48.626 17
17 50 Tom CORONEL Comtoyou DHL Team CUPRA Racing CUPRA TCR 12 10.892 1:48.770 20
18 9 Attila TASSI KCMG Honda Civic Type R TCR 12 13.074 1:48.947 21
19 52 Gordon SHEDDEN Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport Audi RS3 LMS TCR 12 15.483 1:49.116 23
20 31 Kevin CECCON Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR 12 15.773 1:48.719 24
21 18 Tiago MONTEIRO KCMG Honda Civic Type R TCR 12 16.946 1:48.914 25
22 1 Gabriele TARQUINI BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse Hyundai i30 N TCR 12 17.397 1:48.874 19
23 55 Ma QING HUA Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR 12 17.503 1:48.997 22
24 5 Norbert MICHELISZ BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse Hyundai i30 N TCR 11 + 1 LAP 1:49.437 12
R 12 Rob HUFF SLR VW Motorsport Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 8 DNF 1:48.697 26
R 8 Augusto FARFUS BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Racing Team Hyundai i30 N TCR 6 DNF 1:50.426 16

WTCR points after Round 10 2019