After qualifying, it looked as though Yann Ehrlacher was set to canter to his first FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) title with relative ease. However, tricky surface conditions threw everybody a curve ball in race one, and it was his nearest rival Esteban Guerrieri who benefitted.
Opting for a full set of slick tyres, Ehrlacher simply couldn’t match the pace of drivers who elected to run a split-compound set-up. Luckily for him though, only a handful of people chose to gamble with a set of wets on the rear axle, so Ehrlacher was able to limit the damage well by crossing the line in sixth.
Nevertheless, his sizeable 31-point championship lead has now been decreased to just sixteen points after Guerrieri stormed ahead to take the win from sixteenth on the grid.
Despite the Argentine having pretty much halved the deficit, Ehrlacher remains confident of winning the championship today given the two drivers’ comparative starting positions for races two and three.
“P6, not a bad result as conditions were really tough,” he said. “[The car was] oversteering all over the place, I couldn’t find any rear grip as it was greasy on track, really damp, and we went for slicks.
“Honda went on mixed tyres and it was a good choice, they won so we lost half of the advantage that we had in the championship.
“But still, there are two races [to go] where we will start in front of them, so yeah I’m quite confident.”
The second race of the day is set to start shortly at 13:15 CEST (12:15 GMT).