Norbert Michelisz converts pole to victory in Nürburgring opener

Reigning FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) champion Norbert Michelisz converted pole position into a maiden victory in TCR Germany, leading home Mike Halder and Andreas Bäckman.

Guest entry Michelisz (Hyundai Team Engstler) was beaten off the line by fellow front-row starter Harald Proczyk (HP Racing International), but the latter was adjudged to have jumped the lights and was duly handed a drive-through penalty.

That decision came at the end of an early safety car period after a start-line collision between Jessica Bäckman (Target Competition), Lausitzring winner Nicolas Gruber and Antti Buri (both Hyundai Team Engstler), the net result a missing front bumper for Gruber and rear-right suspension damage for Bäckman as she retired on the exit of Turn 3.

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With Proczyk bound for the pit lane to serve his penalty, Michelisz re-inherited top spot and went unchallenged to the flag, his eventual winning margin some 1.65 seconds.

Though Halder (Profi-Car Team Halder) briefly looked to challenge Michelisz at the restart, he never looked a threat to the Hungarian, but in turn maintained a comfortable advantage over Backman’s Target-run Hyundai behind in third.

Michelle Halder (Profi-Car Team Halder) and Dominik Fugel (Profi-Car Team Honda ADAC Sachsen) complete the top five, but with Michelisz and Backman both ineligible to score points, the Halder siblings and Fugel all take a de-facto top three, as far as the championship is concerned.

That moves Fugel into the early standings lead, four points clear of Mike Halder and six ahead of Proczyk, who recovered to ninth after his penalty.

That puts him behind Jan Seyffert (HP Racing International), Rene Kircher (Volkswagen Team Oettinger) and Marcel Fugel (Profi-Car Team Halder) in the classification, with Harri Salminen rounding out the top-ten for Positione Motorsport.

Gruber and Jessica Bäckman will start at the front for tomorrow’s reverse-grid race, which starts at 10:25 BST.

Race result

POS NO DRIVER NAT ENTRANT CAR LAPS TIME BEST GD
1 105 Norbert MICHELISZ Hyundai Team Engstler Hyundai i30 N TCR 19 32:13.245 1:34.981 1
2 7 Mike HALDER Profi Car Honda ADAC Sachsen Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 19 1.650 1:35.453 3
3 19 Andreas BÄCKMAN Target Competition Hyundai i30 N TCR 19 7.786 1:35.422 4
4 53 Michelle HALDER Profi Car Team Halder Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 19 10.050 1:35.564 5
5 88 Dominik FUGEL Profi Car Honda ADAC Sachsen Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 19 12.756 1:35.934 10
6 98 Jan SEYFFERT HP Racing International Hyundai i30 N TCR 19 19.062 1:36.045 11
7 8 René KIRCHER Volkswagen Team Oettinger Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 19 20.255 1:36.066 12
8 55 Marcel FUGEL Profi Car Team Halder Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 19 26.447 1:36.075 9
9 2 Harald PROCZYK HP Racing International Hyundai i30 N TCR 19 29.196 1:35.249 2
10 51 Harri SALMINEN Positione Motorsport Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 19 35.914 1:36.116 13
11 21 Szymon LADNIAK GT2 Motorsports Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 19 53.041 1:38.101 15
12 92 Dziugas TOVILAVICIUS SKUBA RACING TEAM Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 18 + 1 LAP 1:36.375 14
13 13 Antti BURI Hyundai Team Engstler Hyundai i30 N TCR 17 + 2 LAPS 1:38.196 6
R 97 Nicolas GRUBER Hyundai Team Engstler Hyundai i30 N TCR 7 DNF 1:38.364 8
R 26 Jessica BÄCKMAN Target Competition Hyundai i30 N TCR 0 DNF N/A 7
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