Mikel Azcona masters joker lap to beat Ma Qing Hua to race...

Mikel Azcona masters joker lap to beat Ma Qing Hua to race two win

Mikel Azcona
Photo: Florent Gooden / DPPI

Mikel Azcona used the joker lap to claim victory in the second FIA World Touring Car Cup race on the streets of Vila Real, with the PWR Racing driver using the joker lap to get ahead of Team Mulsanne’s Ma Qing Hua.

Azcona started from the second row of the reversed grid race, running in third for the first few laps until he moved forwards after Esteban Guerrieri took the joker lap on lap three at the earliest possibility.

That left Azcona pressuring Ma for the lead, taking his joker lap two laps earlier than his Chinese rival. When Ma then ducked into the slower left-right kink at the roundabout, the Alfa Romeo driver made a small mistake, giving Azcona the advantage he needed to emerge in the lead.

The Spaniard was then unchallenged on his way to a first-ever WTCR win for both himself and the PWR Racing team, with Ma having to settle for second and his third podium visit of the year.

Championship leader Guerrieri completed the podium, with the Argentine extending his advantage to 31 points after his chief rival Norbert Michelisz failed to finish.

Jean-Karl Vernay passed Nicky Catsburg during the joker lap phase and took fourth for the WRT-run Audi team, with Catsburg being the only Hyundai driver to finish the race in fifth.

Yvan Muller was the best of the Lynk & Co drivers in sixth, the Frenchman getting the jump on SLR’s Rob Huff, the best Volkswagen, in seventh.

The second Cyan Racing Lynk & Co of Yann Ehrlacher was eighth, whilst Münnich Motorsport’s Néstor Girolami made up to places to take ninth, with KCMG’s Tiago Monteiro completing the top ten.

Race three pole-sitter Attila Tassi followed his Honda team-mate home in 11th, staying out of trouble and taking home a modest five points ahead of the main event later in the afternoon.

Having dominated Saturday’s proceeding, Michelisz endured a disastrous race. In the pack from 16th on the grid, the Hungarian twice made contact with the back of Kevin Ceccon’s Alfa Romeo on lap three, eliminating both drivers from the race and negating almost all of the inroads he had made into Guerrieri’s points lead the day before.

Two other BRC Hyundais, those of Augusto Farfus and Gabriele Tarquini, also retired in a difficult race for the Italian outfit.

Race three is scheduled to get underway at 17:00 WEST / BST (18:00 CEST).

Race result

POS NO DRIVER NAT ENTRANT CAR LAPS TIME BEST GD
1 96 Mikel AZCONA PWR Racing CUPRA TCR 11 22:36.529 2:02.360 3
2 55 Ma QING HUA Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR 11 4.832 2:02.975 1
3 86 Esteban GUERRIERI ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR 11 5.538 2:03.225 2
4 69 Jean-Karl VERNAY Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport Audi RS3 LMS TCR 11 6.812 2:02.878 5
5 88 Nicky CATSBURG BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Racing Team Hyundai i30 N TCR 11 7.482 2:03.090 4
6 100 Yvan MULLER Cyan Racing Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 03 TCR 11 9.221 2:03.072 7
7 12 Rob HUFF SLR VW Motorsport Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 11 9.537 2:03.475 6
8 68 Yann EHRLACHER Cyan Performance Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 03 TCR 11 11.374 2:02.837 8
9 29 Néstor GIROLAMI ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR 11 14.253 2:03.623 11
10 18 Tiago MONTEIRO KCMG Honda Civic Type R TCR 11 14.626 2:03.293 9
11 9 Attila TASSI KCMG Honda Civic Type R TCR 11 15.109 2:02.713 10
12 22 Frédéric VERVISCH Comtoyou Team Audi Sport Audi RS3 LMS TCR 11 19.969 2:03.282 13
13 11 Thed BJÖRK Cyan Racing Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 03 TCR 11 20.988 2:03.320 15
14 14 Johan KRISTOFFERSSON SLR Volkswagen Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 11 22.388 2:03.096 14
15 111 Andy PRIAULX Cyan Performance Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 03 TCR 11 25.873 2:03.425 17
16 21 Aurélien PANIS Comtoyou DHL Team CUPRA Racing CUPRA TCR 11 26.825 2:03.485 18
17 33 Benjamin LEUCHTER SLR Volkswagen Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 11 27.787 2:03.345 20
18 10 Niels LANGEVELD Comtoyou Team Audi Sport Audi RS3 LMS TCR 11 30.562 2:03.774 24
19 50 Tom CORONEL Comtoyou DHL Team CUPRA Racing CUPRA TCR 11 31.153 2:03.534 22
20 25 Mehdi BENNANI SLR VW Motorsport Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 11 31.255 2:03.675 21
21 52 Gordon SHEDDEN Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport Audi RS3 LMS TCR 11 34.815 2:04.388 19
22 37 Daniel HAGLÖF PWR Racing CUPRA TCR 11 35.585 2:04.309 23
R 1 Gabriele TARQUINI BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse Hyundai i30 N TCR 7 DNF 2:05.151 25
R 5 Norbert MICHELISZ BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse Hyundai i30 N TCR 5 DNF 2:05.228 16
R 31 Kevin CECCON Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR 3 DNF 2:05.302 12
R 8 Augusto FARFUS BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Racing Team Hyundai i30 N TCR 3 DNF 2:06.724 26
WTCR standings after Round 17
Graphic: TouringCars.Net