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Nathanaël Berthon enjoyed ‘fair fight’ en route to first victory

On his second attempt from the front row of the grid this season, Nathanaël Berthon finally converted pole position into a victory in today’s opening World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) race at the Slovakiaring.

The Frenchman has been in top form throughout the weekend, and has finally capitalised on the pace that he had shown glimpses of in the two previous rounds of the championship.

With poor traction on his side of the starting grid, Berthon initially lost out to Hyundai’s Nicky Catsburg for the lead. However, once the Dutchman’s tyres went away from him, Berthon would get back past before seeming to pull away from the rest of the pack with relative ease.

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As the fastest car on track with a mixed tyre compound set-up, Berthon went on to take victory at the Slovakiaring for DHL Comtoyou Racing, marking the team’s first win since Frédéric Vervisch won at the same track last year.

Berthon was therefore delighted with the result, and with how it was achieved too.

“First of all I’m very happy for all the team and for myself of course, it’s a team effort and the guys did an amazing job,” said the Frenchman. “This race was not easy even if we had a big gap at the end, the start was quite tricky because it was a bit more wet on the left side [of the starting grid] than the right.

“In the end we made a reasonable start but Nicky got a better start than me and it was a very fair fight. It was something that I like to be involved in because in WTCR sometimes there is quite a lot of contact and this battle was really fair, so thanks to him, I really enjoyed it.

“It is amazing, I’m very happy. It’s my first win in this championship, I’ve had a few poles but I hope that I will keep this result. We are still fighting, we are pushing to the max everywhere and I’m very happy for everybody.”

Berthon will again be starting from pole position in race three, but must first get through the reverse-grid second race in the middle of the day.

“You always want to be out of trouble [in the reversed-grid race], but of course I will do the best race possible,” he explained.

“We’ve lost a lot of points already so definitely we have to be clever and play smart. I don’t know how the weather is going to change today, whether it will be fully dry or if we’re going to have another shower. It takes a long time to to dry up on this track.

“We have to play it smart, don’t make any mistakes and hopefully we’ll take some points home.”

Race two gets underway at 11:45 BST (12:45 CEST).

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