World Rally Championship star Thierry Neuville converted his pole position into a first win in the opening TCR Germany race at the Nürburgring, comfortably beating fellow Hyundai driver Max Hesse to the win.
At the start Neuville romped into a comfortable lead, as behind him several drivers made a jump start for which they would later be penalised. Amongst them was Mike Halder, who jumped into second, only to then be hit by the Hyundai of Harald Proczyk at the first corner.
That in turn caused Theo Coicaud and Dominik Fugel to spin in avoidance, as numerous drivers had to take evasive action.
Also picking up a jump start drive-through penalty were Michelle Halder, Sebastian Steibel, Karen Gaillard, Jörg Schori and Jan Seyffert.
As Proczyk continued on the first lap with a damaged car, fellow Hyundai racer Max Hesse was able to move into second before the end of the lap, before Julien Apothéloz followed past a lap later at the first corner.
The order at the front would thereafter remain unchanged, as Belgian Neuville romped to a four-second win in his début race, despite a four-lap safety car period wiping out his early lead.
As a guest entry, Neuville is ineligible to score points, giving Hesse a race-win score and moving the young German up to second overall in the drivers’ standings.
Series leader Antti Buri was fourth in the best Audi, the Finn passing Austrian Lukas Niedertscheider for the position on lap 11 after applying several laps of pressure.
Niedertscheider was the best of the HP Racing Hyundai pair in fifth, ahead of Team Engstler’s Coicaud in sixth, with the Frenchman recovering to take a top ten result, including passing Mitchell Cheah for the position just three laps from the chequered flag.
Series returnee Pascal Eberle was seventh in his CUPRA, ahead of Cheah in eighth, the Malaysian losing out on the penultimate lap to the Swiss.
Racing One’s René Kircher and returnee Kai Jordan completed the top ten, with the ailing Proczyk just 11th in his damaged i30 N.
The four-lap safety car period was required on lap five when Bradley Burns’ Pyro Motorsport Honda caught fire on the approach to the chicane, eliminating him from the race on the spot.
Fugel was the only other retirement, returning to the pits after the opening lap with damage on his Honda.
Race two is scheduled to take place at 14:40 CEST (13:40 BST) on Sunday.
|1||104||Thierry NEUVILLE||Hyundai Team Engstler 2||Hyundai i30 N TCR||19||19 LAPS||1:34.942||1|
|2||19||Max HESSE||Hyundai Team Engstler||Hyundai i30 N TCR||19||4.233||1:35.094||2|
|3||22||Julien APOTHÉLOZ||TOPCAR Sport||CUPRA TCR||19||10.525||1:35.717||11|
|4||13||Antti BURI||LMS Racing||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||19||10.660||1:36.103||7|
|5||42||Lukas NIEDERTSCHEIDER||HP Racing International||Hyundai i30 N TCR||19||12.543||1:35.492||6|
|6||27||Theo COICAUD||Hyundai Team Engstler||Hyundai i30 N TCR||19||13.586||1:35.197||4|
|7||28||Pascal EBERLE||Steibel Motorsport 2||CUPRA TCR||19||14.896||1:36.017||10|
|8||29||Mitchell CHEAH Min Jie||VW Team Oettinger||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||19||17.312||1:36.204||9|
|9||8||René KIRCHER||racing one||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||19||19.134||1:36.392||19|
|10||50||Kai JORDAN||VW Team Oettinger||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||19||24.344||1:36.754||12|
|11||1||Harald PROCZYK||HP Racing International||Hyundai i30 N TCR||19||33.476||1:37.140||5|
|12||53||Michelle HALDER||Profi-Car Team Halder||Honda Civic Type R FK8 TCR||19||47.993||1:37.156||13|
|13||23||Sebastian STEIBEL||Steibel Motorsport||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||19||52.969||1:36.854||14|
|14||98||Jan SEYFFERT||Lubner Motorsport||LADA Vesta TCR||19||56.338||1:37.389||15|
|15||61||Jörg SCHORI||Lubner Motorsport 2||Opel Astra TCR||19||1:20.255||1:39.399||18|
|16||7||Mike HALDER||Profi-Car Team Honda ADAC Sachsen||Honda Civic Type R FK8 TCR||19||1:39.304||1:38.994||3|
|17||30||Karen GAILLARD||TOPCAR Sport 2||CUPRA TCR||18||+ 1 LAP||1:39.296||16|
|R||6||Bradley BURNS||Team Pyro Motorsport||Honda Civic Type R FK8 TCR||4||DNF||1:37.072||17|
|R||88||Dominik FUGEL||Profi-Car Team Honda ADAC Sachsen||Honda Civic Type R FK8 TCR||1||DNF||N/A||8|