Nestor Girolami converted pole position into victory in the opening round of the FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) at Circuit Zolder.
The Argentine made a good start from reverse-grid pole and held Thed Bjork’s Cyan Racing-run Lynk & Co. at arm’s length for the duration, taking the chequered flag some 1.127 seconds clear.
A boisterous move at the first corner promoted Attila Tassi to third past Jean-Karl Vernay’s Alfa Romeo Giulietta, and the Hungarian duly kicked off his sophomore season in the category with his maiden podium.
It proved to be a real race of contrasts for the Münnich Motorsport squad, with two drivers on the podium, and two out of the race with seemingly identical suspected turbo failures.
Esteban Guerrieri’s Honda was the first to let go, with Tiago Monteiro following suit a few laps later.
Tom Coronel looked the only man likely to change the order of the top four in the closing stages, but couldn’t quite pose a threat to Tassi’s third position on board the Comtoyou Racing Audi RS 3 LMS.
He took fourth, with Vernay eventually fifth after re-grouping from a difficult start.
Santiago Urrutia headed team mates Yann Ehrlacher and Yvan Muller as all four Lynk & Co. cars made it into the top eight.
Race two pole-sitter and erstwhile points leader Nathanael Berthon was ninth, leading team mate Gilles Magnus, who rounds out the top ten.
Reigning WTCR champion Norbert Michelisz was eleventh in the leading Hyundai i30 N TCR for BRC Racing, surviving a moment of contact with Luca Engstler on the run down to the Kleine chicane, the German eventually settling for 12th.
Dylan O’Keefe was 13th; team mate Jack Young had earlier run just behind on his WTCR debut, but slipped back late on and was forced to pit with a lap to run.
Nicky Catsburg and Gabriele Tarquini’s Hyundai i30 N challengers round out the points finishers in 14th and 15th.
The final race of the weekend is set to get underway at 13:15 (BST).
|1||29||Néstor GIROLAMI||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR||13||21:17.425||1:37.207||1|
|2||11||Thed BJÖRK||Cyan Performance||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||13||1.127||1:37.283||3|
|3||9||Attila TASSI||ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR||13||1.844||1:37.327||4|
|4||31||Tom CORONEL||Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||13||2.072||1:37.306||5|
|5||69||Jean-Karl VERNAY||Team Mulsanne||Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce TCR||13||4.632||1:37.469||2|
|6||12||Santiago URRUTIA||Cyan Performance||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||13||6.050||1:37.393||7|
|7||68||Yann EHRLACHER||Cyan Racing||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||13||6.674||1:37.560||9|
|8||100||Yvan MULLER||Cyan Racing||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||13||7.382||1:37.395||6|
|9||17||Nathanaël BERTHON||Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||13||7.794||1:37.312||10|
|10||16||Gilles MAGNUS||Comtoyou Racing||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||13||12.585||1:37.486||8|
|11||1||Norbert MICHELISZ||BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse||Hyundai i30 N TCR||13||15.513||1:37.869||12|
|12||8||Luca ENGSTLER||Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team||Hyundai i30 N TCR||13||16.085||1:37.892||14|
|13||33||Dylan O’KEEFFE||Vuković Motorsport||Renault Mégane RS TCR||13||18.135||1:38.120||13|
|14||88||Nicky CATSBURG||Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team||Hyundai i30 N TCR||13||21.572||1:37.885||20|
|15||30||Gabriele TARQUINI||BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse||Hyundai i30 N TCR||13||23.527||1:38.200||15|
|16||96||Mikel AZCONA||Zengő Motorsport||CUPRA Leon Competición||13||25.323||1:38.531||19|
|17||55||Bence BOLDIZS||Zengő Motorsport||CUPRA Leon Competición||13||31.621||1:38.981||18|
|18||25||Luca FILIPPI||Team Mulsanne||Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce TCR||13||34.240||1:38.628||22|
|19||99||Gábor KISMARTY-LECHNER||Zengő Motorsport||CUPRA Leon Competición||13||50.562||1:40.108||21|
|R||7||Jack YOUNG||Vuković Motorsport||Renault Mégane RS TCR||12||DNF||1:38.839||16|
|R||18||Tiago MONTEIRO||ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR||7||DNF||1:37.970||17|
|R||86||Esteban GUERRIERI||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR||2||DNF||1:38.360||11|